In a new study, researchers found that how fast people walk can be used as an indicator of how fast they are aging.
They found slower walkers were shown to have ‘accelerated aging’ on a 19-measure scale devised by researchers.
In addition, their lungs, teeth and immune systems tended to be in worse shape than the people who walked faster.
The research was conducted by a team at Duke University.
Previous research has shown that slow walkers in their seventies and eighties tend to die sooner than fast walkers their same age.
In the study, the team analyzed data from nearly 50 years of testing on 904 participants born the same year in Dunedin, New Zealand.
The people were tested, quizzed and measured their entire lives, most recently at age 45.
According to the data, tests the participants took at age 3—IQ, understanding language, frustration tolerance, motor skills, and emotional control—could predict who would be a slow walker at age 45.
MRI exams during the most recent assessment showed the brains of slow walkers had a lower cortical thickness and less surface area, meaning they appeared older.
But it wasn’t just brains that looked older. The team found when a panel of screeners was shown photos of the 45-year-olds, they thought the slow walkers looked older.
The team says 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.
One author of the study is Terrie E. Moffitt.
The study is published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
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