How Fast You Walk Determines How Long You will live!

Did you know that, as soon as you walk into the doctor’s office, she can assess your potential for long life? That’s without even checking your vitals!

Oh, come on! I know I’m overweight, but this is ridiculous!

Nope. That’s without even asking you to step on the scale, view the results and raise your blood pressure 20 points.

The doctor is watching that shuffle-step you have going on and determining some interesting information about your health.

According to Dr. Stephanie Studensky, a professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh, “Your body chooses the walking speed that is best for you, and that is your speed, your health indicator,” Studensky said.

 “And that’s what it really is: an indicator. Going out and walking faster does not necessarily mean you will suddenly live longer. You still need to address the underlying health issues.”

Researchers found that they could determine your 10-year survival expectancy based upon how fast you can walk around a 400-meter track.

I am going to have to research that myself; like, how many meters go in a foot?

Answer: 0.3048 meters, which is just about as confusing, but we on the English system get the idea that the people were asked to walk around a quarter-mile track. Good enough.

These numbers were especially revealing for those older than 75. Walking speed gives an accurate glimpse of your inner workings; your health status. Average walking speed was about 1.8 MPH.

Like blood pressure readings, speed of walking can now be tested with a cut-off point to determine vigorous health. The Health Powers have determined that adults who walk faster than one meter per second may live longer than those who don’t.

How does walking speed reveal your health status?

Cardiovascular Health: A study published in European Heart Journal found that slow walkers are more than twice as likely to die from heart disease that speedy walkers.

Brain Health: Brain health is complex and many issues seemingly unrelated are, in fact, brain related. Balance is one of these. If a person’s balance is poor, they are likely to shuffle instead of lifting their feet. Poor balance focuses upon the ground, not the scenery round about.

Visual Acuity: Poor vision slows gait. This is perfectly sensible, and an attempt to prevent a fall.

Core Body Strength: Faster walking indicates muscular strength and coordination.

A faster gait kept those with chronic illnesses, like blood cancer, out of the hospital, according to a June, 2019 article in Blood, which assessed 450 patients.

Believe it or not, those who walked faster had healthier lungs, teeth and immune systems than slower walkers.

And some bad news:  slower walkers showed signs of accelerated aging.

NO!

The Moment of Truth: How do I determine my walking speed? Walking naturally down a hall or sidewalk, count the number of steps you take in 10 seconds and multiply that number by six. That will tell you your steps per minute.

Now what?

Dieli-Conwright, who has studied exercise’s effect on cancer patients, says it’s not only about how fast you walk or have always walked but if your walking speed changes.

As soon as individuals start to have a decline in gait speed, it’s a strong indicator that they’re losing physical function and they’re losing overall health,” she says. “Even if they’re a fast walker and they experience a decline in gait speed, that’s going to have an effect on their health outcomes.”

Walking speed is a useful piece of data, and indications for well-being are strong. If your speed slows, check it out. It’s up to you to see subtle changes, not a doctor who sees you twice a year. Walking speed may be one of the first signs indicating something is amiss, or better, that you are strong and healthy!