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Study: Walking speed is related to life expectancy

Posted January 4, 2011

A new study shows that walking speed may be a good clue for life expectancy.

“Your walking speed is a very simple reflection of how well many of your body systems are doing,” said Dr. Stephanie Studenski, a medical doctor and professor of geriatric medicine at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

Researchers evaluated data from almost 35,000 people aged 65 years and older in one of the largest ongoing aging studies worldwide.

Along with walking speed, they also looked at other health factors in participants, following them for up to 20 years.

"In every population, no matter how old they were, what sex they were, what kind of health conditions they had, there was a strong relationship between walking speed and survival,” Studenski said.

The study appears in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

It provides tables and figures estimating probability of survival over the next 10 years and the average years left to live.

Walking speed could relate to life expectancy Walking speed could relate to life expectancy

”This kind of information might be useful and valuable to the health care system, to doctors, families and patients in giving them a sense of their own vitality and longevity,” Studenski said.

Researchers say it's not just about walking faster, it's about establishing a safe and efficient walking speed based on how a person's body is working.

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  • OGE Jan 7, 2011

    wow. what a horribly written story (wral won't post this; apparently the censors don't want anyone bashing their writing style - or lack thereof) at no point do they even say whether walking very fast or very slow is the preferred (i.e., the indicator of long life) speed.

    if you can't include pertinent information, why bother posting the story at all?
    monkeyboy

    Are you that ignorant that you cannot discern that a faster walking speed is good and a slower speed is bad?

  • edith wharton Jan 7, 2011

    There is a link to the orginial JAMA article, if you care to read the whole study.

  • monkeyboy Jan 6, 2011

    wow. what a horribly written story (wral won't post this; apparently the censors don't want anyone bashing their writing style - or lack thereof) at no point do they even say whether walking very fast or very slow is the preferred (i.e., the indicator of long life) speed.

    if you can't include pertinent information, why bother posting the story at all?

  • ugottabkiddinme Jan 6, 2011

    OOOOO Kay!! heard it all now