The speed of one’s stride may be correlated to that individual’s longevity, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
After gathering data on more than 34,000 senior citizens who participated in nine separate studies, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh found that every 0.2 miles an hour of increased walking speed in seniors is correlated to a 12 percent rise in survival rate.
“It’s a real part of the human experience to see that when someone slows down with age, they may not be doing as well as they once were,” said Dr. Stephanie Studenski, the study’s lead researcher. “One of the major goals of this study was to quantify this experience for practical and clinical purposes.”
The results, which were virtually the same for men and women, also have implications for how doctors treat elderly patients.
According to Studenski, “Functional predictions like this give doctors an opportunity to do individual life planning for healthy older people where we ought to treat them like they are going to be around for a good long time.”
But don’t worry, slowpokes. Studenski does concede that her longevity charts are not always an accurate measure for people who naturally prefer a nice, leisurely stroll.