Researchers have discovered that walking speed can be a useful predictor of how long older adults live.
Those who walked 1 meter per second (about 2.25 mph) or faster consistently lived longer than others of their age and sex who walked more slowly, the study showed.
“We’re able to show that a person’s capacity to move strongly reflects vitality and health,” said study researcher Dr. Stephanie Studenski, a professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh.
However, the researchers also emphasized that the purpose of this study wasn’t to get people to walk faster in hopes of living longer.
“Your body chooses the walking speed that is best for you, and that is your speed, your health indicator,” Studenski said. “And that’s what it really is: an indicator. Going out and walking faster does not necessarily mean you will suddenly live longer. You still need to address the underlying health issues.”
The researchers showed they could reliably predict the 10-year survival rate of a group of people based on how fast they walked along a 4-meter track.
The walking speed for those with the average life expectancy was about 0.8 meters per second (about 1.8 mph) for most age groups of both sexes. Walking speed was a more accurate predictor of life expectancy than age or sex, the study showed.
The numbers were especially accurate for those older than 75. This suggests that for older people, walking speed could be a sort of “vital sign,” like blood pressure and heart rate, the researchers said.@1 year ago with 3 notes
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