Can walking more quickly help us keep death at bay? If you consider the results of a new study that followed nearly 500 elderly citizens for close to a decade, we could certainly believe that it does! Researchers observed that the seniors who walked faster had a lower risk than others of dying over the course of the study. The results suggest that the gait speed is likely a good indicator of long-term survival, even for those who appear to be in good health. Hence, nine years after their gait speed was measured, 77% of those who were considered to be slow had perished, compared to 50% of those with moderate speed and 27% of those who were considered faster.
It is interesting to note that those who had increased their gait speed had even seen their risk of dying diminish. But unfortunately, the authors of this study do not know exactly why our gait speed correlates with our risk of dying.
We must remember that physical exercise is essential in maintaining good health. This is especially true for senior citizens. We know for a fact that while being physically active promotes good physical health, good mental health and a good quality of life, being sedentary contributes to the degeneration of many systems such as our bones, muscles, heart and lungs. As is recommended for all adults, seniors are told to aim to do one hour of moderate physical activity on most days of the week. Walking, swimming, gardening and dancing are all fantastic ways to stay active and fit!