Walking speed associated with indicators of “accelerated aging”

Walking speed is linked with midlife health, says a study conducted by researchers who found that the walking speed of 45-year-olds was associated with physical and biological indicators of “accelerated ageing”.

According to senior author Professor Terrie Moffitt, of King’s College London, slow walkers in their 70s and 80s tend to die sooner than fast walkers of the same age.

However, this new study covered the period from the pre-school years to midlife, revealed that a slow walk is a problem sign even during middle age.

As reported by Standard, the study concluded that 45-year-olds who had the fastest walking speeds were in the best health. Whereas slowest speeds are found linked with lower total brain volume and lower average cortical thickness, an indicator of neurodegenerative and psychiatric disorders.

When the MRI brain scans of the slower walkers were done, they were found to have less brain surface area and higher incidence of white matter “hyperintensities”, small lesions associated with cognitive decline and dementia.

Not only their lungs, teeth and immune systems also tended to be in worse condition, slower walkers also looked older to a panel of eight screeners.

The study was conducted from April 2017 to April 2019, on 1,000 people born in 1972 or 1973 in Dunedin, New Zealand.

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