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- Jul 19, 2004
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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.
FULL STORY: https://www.sciencealert.com/there-...between-being-a-slow-walker-and-ageing-fasterStudy 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. ...