How fast you walk can tell a lot about your overall health. Recent research has used this information to predict a person’s risk of some major diseases.
In one study, researchers from Ireland found that older people newly diagnosed with depression had a slower walking speed and a shorter step length.
They suggest that gait problems may be a big risk factor for depression in later years of life.
The finding is important because it is crucial to identify older people who are at a higher risk of having depression.
It also shows the possibility that exercise programs aiming at improving walking speed and balance may help prevent depression in later life.
The study is published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.
In a second study from the University of Southern California shows that walking speed can help identify which patients may have difficulties recovering from surgery.
It found that the quicker a patient walks, the better his/her health outcomes.
The researchers explain that this is because walking speed is linked to health issues, such as heart disease and cognitive impairments.
Patients with a fast walking speed may have more strength to do physical activities after surgery, which can benefit their recovery.
Walking speed can also help determine a person’s biological age. The team suggests that inactive people may consider using a walking program to maintain their overall health.
The study is published in JAMA.
A third study showed that walking speed is linked to cognitive functions in people with type 2 diabetes.
It may help identify signs of dementia earlier in these people.
The researchers studied people older than 45 and found that walking speed was associated with cognitive functions such as figure drawing, and grip strength was linked to episodic memory.
The finding also supports the practice of encouraging diabetic patients to exercise more. The study finding is published in the Journal of Advanced Nursing.
If you care about dementia, please read studies about money problems in older people may signal early dementia and findings of this high blood pressure drug may help treat dementia and Parkinson’s.
For more information about dementia and cognitive health, please see recent studies about three common cognitive problems all older people should know and results showing that a new cause of cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s disease.
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