Walking Pace & Rate Of Physical / Cognitive Aging

EnolaGaia

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#1
The latest results from the decades-long Dunedin Study (NZ longitudinal study) indicate a noteworthy correlation between a slower middle age walking pace and relative state of aging / physical decrepitude.
Study Spanning 40 Years Finds Odd Link Between Being a Slow Walker And Ageing Faster

Being a slow walker doesn't just signify you enjoy a leisurely stroll. According to new research, walking with a slow gait could be a symptom of significant deficits in physical and cognitive health.

New findings from a longitudinal study of just over 900 New Zealanders that began back in the 1970s has found that people in their 40s who walk with a slow gait are more likely to show signs of accelerated biological ageing and compromised brain integrity.

"The thing that's really striking is that this is in 45-year-old people, not the geriatric patients who are usually assessed with such measures," says biomedical researcher Line J.H. Rasmussen from Duke University.

Rasmussen and fellow researchers examined participants from the Dunedin Study, an exceptionally long longitudinal health study that began almost five decades ago with a cohort of over 1,000 three-year-olds.

In new research assessing the health of 904 of the remaining participants at the age of 45, the team found walking speed at mid-life seems to offer a unique window into life-long ageing processes that go back all the way to childhood.

"This study covered the period from the preschool years to midlife, and found that a slow walk is a problem sign decades before old age," says Duke psychologist and neuroscientist Terrie E. Moffitt.

In the study, the 45-year-old participants that had their walking speed measured were assessed on a number of measures of everyday physical function. They were also assessed for signs of accelerated ageing – encompassing 19 different biomarkers ranging from blood pressure to dental health – and had their brains scanned via MRI.
Historical data from the longitudinal study were also considered, such as measures of neurocognitive ability based on tests conducted since the participants were children.

The results are an eye-opener, revealing that a slower walking speed in your mid–40s is associated with poor physical function and accelerated ageing – indicated by "more rapid deterioration of multiple organ systems" (based on the biomarker readings) and aligning with a separate visual analysis of participants' facial ages conducted by a panel.

Additionally, slow gait at mid-life was associated with poorer neurocognitive functioning – and not just at the time of testing. ...
FULL STORY: https://www.sciencealert.com/there-...between-being-a-slow-walker-and-ageing-faster
 

EnolaGaia

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#2
Here's a commentary on the reported research findings and their implications ...

Gait Speed Reveals Clues to Lifelong Health

... Why are these findings important for practice, research, and health policy? First, although gait speed has become a widely accepted indicator of health risk in late life, including risk of hospitalization, disability, dementia, and mortality, its application earlier in adulthood is less clear. The study by Rasmussen et al confirms that a subset of persons in their 40s already show indicators of future health challenges and are already aging more quickly than their peers. Furthermore, this study suggests that unknown factors that had already affected 3-year-old children also influenced their health and function 40 years later. As stated by Rasmussen et al, “Gait speed at midlife may be a summary index of lifelong aging with possible origins in childhood central nervous system deficits.”
FULL COMMENTARY: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2752811
 

Yithian

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#3
For a long time, one of the popularly cited tests for physical and mental ageing was whether you could still stand on one leg (barefoot) without too much ado.

No idea how much the ability tends to prove.

And it rather presumes that you aren't one of those people who never really could manage it properly when young!
 

INT21

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#4
Just looked at the link.

It gives a mean walking speed of 1.16 Metre/Second.

Which equates to 1.176 kilometre per hour.

Seems very slow to me.

My average speed is still four and a half mile per hour. = 7.2 Km/Hr. (correct if the sums are wrong)
 

Ermintruder

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#5
For a long time, one of the popularly cited tests for physical and mental ageing was whether you could still stand on one leg (barefoot) without too much ado.
I also recollect that an (allegedly) definitive indicator for imminent (well, finite) physical demise was the demonstrable ability (or otherwise) to self-stand upright from a cross-legged sitting-on-the-ground position.

I've not recently tested that particular metric, but I will say (despite being a decade+ older than the experimental subjects cited above) that I have always walked reallyreallyreally fast. Noticably, and as if I was slightly-crazy.

For reasons that are unclear, despite me being only a few years short of my next decade, I can walk the legs off seriously-fit cyclists 20yrs my junior. I am definitely overweight & notionally unfit, yet I seem strangely...mobile. And have ridiculous stamina vs calorie burn (I can miss 4 consecutive meals without really missing food.....and unfortunately I could possibly starve for three-four days before actually losing weight).

Back when I used to run the labs, I used to measure my own basal metabolic rate >properly< via O2 slope on a proper spirometer/kymograph, and my burn-rate was/is *insanely* flat....I remember comparing my gradient to those of tiny-little Access to Nursing students, and their calorie burn was as steep as anything.
 

Mythopoeika

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#6
I also recollect that an (allegedly) definitive indicator for imminent (well, finite) physical demise was the demonstrable ability (or otherwise) to self-stand upright from a cross-legged sitting-on-the-ground position.
Another thing was hand grip strength.
 

INT21

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#7
Wasn't Gloria Hunniford one of the people in that test ?

I mentioned elsewhere that I recently did a 'recovery rate' test on myself after walking the two miles back home at my normal pace. And it is uphill all the way.

I was quite impressed with myself. Considering I have a heart-condition (or do I ?)
 

Crankyoldgit62

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#10
I am a fast walker, I believe that goes back to when I was at school and hurrying up to get to school and it went on from there, use to do my post delivery round fast enough. Recently though, I have slowed down a bit, I have a heart condition as well INT21, but it's not through that. It's more like, if I miss the tube to work, sod it, I'll get the next one. I walk a little slower when me and the missus are out, as she can't walk to good. The good thing is, I live between two tube stations and they're roughly the same distance to walk.... mind you, if it's chucking it down with rain( like the last couple of weeks), the bus stop is round the corner. At least walking is cheaper the joining a gym and keeps you just as fit(?).
 

Ogdred Weary

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#11
Just looked at the link.

It gives a mean walking speed of 1.16 Metre/Second.

Which equates to 1.176 kilometre per hour.

Seems very slow to me.

My average speed is still four and a half mile per hour. = 7.2 Km/Hr. (correct if the sums are wrong)
That's virtually a crawl, isn't "average walking speed" 3 miles an hour? I'd guess my pace is somewhere above four, it will slow down after a while - an hour or so but not to much. I've noticed looking at timings on google map directions, I'll usually do the journey about 30% or so faster than the stated time.
 

JamesWhitehead

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#12
I have a very fast walking pace, though I have never measured it. A sign of longevity? I'll believe it when I see it.

Am I becoming more optimistic on that front? A little bit, perhaps.

I had bought into the notion that the best guide to longevity is that of our parents: bad news in my case!

I overtook my mother's terminal age several years back - we just had different organs to go wrong! I very recently realised that I had overtaken my father in this ignoble business of staying alive. :yay:
 

henry

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#14
this rather flies in the face of the monk theory of slow and repetitive days leading to a long and (un-)happy life (and 400 year old slow moving tortoises/turtles)

i personally try to move as quickly as possible, being frustrated by slow moving traffic around me, fairly sure this isnt the secret to longevity
 
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