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Midlife Gait Speed Linked With Lifelong Aging

Slow walking predicts accelerated aging and cognitive decline.

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Aging and Midlife Walking Gait

How fast you walk in midlife may provide insight into your future physical and mental fitness. Researchers from Duke University in North Carolina and the University of Otago in New Zealand evaluated data from more than 1,000 male and female participants, who were assessed at intervals from birth to age 45 on factors including physical function, gait speed, aging pace and neurocognitive function.

Data analysis showed that participants with slower gait speed at age 45 also had poorer physical function, more cognitive decline from childhood to adulthood, poorer cognitive functioning and more-accelerated aging than those who had faster gait speeds. Study authors noted that gait speed is a robust predictor of dementia and may be a useful measure in trials aimed at preventing its onset. More research is needed.

Find the study in JAMA Network Open (2019; 2 [10], e1913123).

Shirley Archer-Eichenberger, JD, MA

Shirley Archer, JD, MA, is an internationally acknowledged integrative health and mindfulness specialist, best-selling author of 16 fitness and wellness books translated into multiple languages and sold worldwide, award-winning health journalist, contributing editor to Fitness Journal, media spokesperson, and IDEA's 2008 Fitness Instructor of the Year. She's a 25-year industry veteran and former health and fitness educator at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, who has served on multiple industry committees and co-authored trade books and manuals for ACE, ACSM and YMCA of the USA. She has appeared on TV worldwide and was a featured trainer on America's Next Top Model.

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