If you can’t really outrun the Grim Reaper, maybe you can at least keep him at bay a bit longer by walking fast. University of Pittsburgh researchers analyzing data from 9 studies totaling 34,485 seniors found that gait speed was an effective predictor of life expectancy – possibly filling a gap as a marker of well-being among older adults, according to the Tufts University Health & Nutrition Update.
Over a range of 6 to 21 years, 17,528 study participants died. Those with faster walking speeds at the beginning were more likely to live longer – an association that was strongest after age 75.
Overall, the median life expectancy was associated with a gait speed of about 2.6 feet per second; people whose usual pace, from a standing start, was 3.3 feet per second or faster “consistently demonstrated survival that was longer than expected by age and sex alone.”
Researchers suggested that “slowing gait may reflect both damaged systems and a high energy cost of walking,” adding, “Gait speed may be a simple and accessible indicator of the health of the older person.”
Time Magazine has a nice video on it here.
Walking is a wonderful exercise that is available to virtually everyone. To read further on it, check out my Page – Why You Should Walk More.