Want to predict how long you may live? Record your walking speed.
A new study that appears in the Journal of American Medical Association found that walking speeds correlate with living longer. The faster a person’s normal walking speed was, the longer their predicted life span.
In the study, which followed about 36,000 people for up to 21 years, participants walked at a regular pace for eight to 18 feet. Both men and women had an average gait of 2.6 feet per second. However, those who had speeds of 3.3 feet per second or higher were associated with longer life spans regardless of the person’s gender or age. Those who walked slower than 2 feet per second had an increased risk of dying.
Scientists say that predicting survival based on gait speed was as accurate as predictions that were based on the participant’s age, gender, lifestyle choices (like smoking), chronic conditions and body mass index.
Researchers don’t recommend people start walking faster, instead they’re hoping this research might be a tool doctors can use to identify health problems in patients.
Photo via Flickr: by Moyan_Brenn