Walk Your Way to Better Health
If you have a steady walking routine going youre on the right track. But if youre also stopping to smell the roses, you might want to skip it and pick up your pace. A new study reported in the Journal of the AmericanMedical Association reports that speed increases longevity in older adults.
The researchers checked out nine different walking studies beginning in 1986 and completed in 2000. It included 34,485 adults, sixty-five years or older, and followed them for between six to 21 years. The researchers discovered that walking speed was associated with differences in the probability of survival at all ages, and in both sexes, but was especially important once the subjects passed the 75 year mark.
Stephanie Studenski of the University of Pittsburgh who conducted the study along with her colleagues said: "In this older adult population the relationship of gait speed with remaining years of life was consistent across age groups, but the absolute number of expected remaining years of life was larger at younger ages.
Perhaps whats even more telling is that the researchers findings were as accurate as longevity indicators for such factors as smoking history, blood pressure, body mass index, and hospitalization.
The authors suggested there are powerful reasons why walking speed may predict survival rates:"Walking requires energy, movement control, and support, and places demands on multiple organ systems, including the heart, lungs, and circulatory, nervous, and musculoskeletal systems. Slowing gait may reflect both damaged systems and a high energy cost of walking.