Walking Pace May be Linked to Longevity
There is a clear association between walking speed and longevity according to a study published recently in the January 2010 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The new findings come from researchers at Pittsburgh University who analyzed data from 9 separate studies conducted between 1986 and 2000.
The studies included 34,485 participants, all over the age of 65 at the start of the study. The researchers had each participant walk between 8-12 steps to measure their gait speed and observed an average gait of 3 feet per second.
The researchers found that people who walked faster than 3 feet per second had a significantly lower mortality risk. They also found that this association was particularly strong among participants over 75 years of age.
This research provides beneficial information for clinicians who may now be able to use gait speed as a general indicator of health.
Although this study did not look into the health implications of walking faster or more often, previous research has shown that walking more can have significant health benefits, especially as you age.
One study was published earlier this year in the journal Neurology which found that older adults who take frequent walks had a significant reduction in brain shrinkage and memory loss. Walking for 30 minutes a day has also been shown to reduce the risk of falls, decrease weight gain and reduce the risk of stroke.