Aging: Walking Faster and Outpacing Death – New York Times
Aging: Walking Faster and Outpacing Death
By ERIC NAGOURNEY
Published: November 20, 2007
Researchers who followed the health of nearly 500 older people for almost a decade found that those who walked more quickly were less likely to die over the course of the study.
Improvement in Usual Gait Speed Predicts Better Survival in Older Adults (Journal of the American Geriatrics Society)
The findings, the researchers said, suggest that gait speed may be a good predictor of long-term survival, even in people who otherwise appear basically healthy. The study was presented at a conference of the Gerontological Society of America.
In a related study, appearing in the November issue of The Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, the researchers also found that people whose walking speed improved reduced their risk of death.
“We don’t know why,” said one of the authors, Dr. Stephanie A. Studenski of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. “Did some of these people exercise? Did some of these people have health conditions that were treated and improved?”
The study presented at the conference reported that nine years after their gait speed was measured, 77 percent of those people described as slow had died, 50 percent of those considered medium and 27 percent of those considered fast.