Fast Walkers May Have More Years Ahead of Them

In health on March 18, 2011 by quriasw Tagged: , , ,

Simply measuring how fast older people walk may provide a glimpse into how many years they have left.

In fact, a new analysis found that a formula that includes gait predicted older people’s future life span about as well as taking into account such health conditions as blood pressure and heart disease.


Walking speed may not be a perfect window into a person’s future, but the findings show that there’s evidence to support the common assumption that older people fail to walk easily when their health is poor, said study author Dr. Stephanie Anne Studenski, a geriatrics specialist at the University of Pittsburgh.

“Somehow, the capacity to move is a powerful reflection of health, vitality and life expectancy in older adults,” Studenski said.

It does appear obvious, she said, that the way people move — or don’t move — is directly related to their health.

“We have always implicitly used things like the capacity to move and the vigor of movement to get an impression of how people are doing as they age,” she said. “‘Uncle Joe still has a spring in his step.’ ‘I’m worried about Grandma; she looks like she’s slowing down.’”



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