Slow walkers commonly feature in round-ups of pet peeves, but those who move at a slower pace could have more to worry about than simply annoying the general population. According to new research, the speed at which we walk could reflect how quickly we are ageing.
Researchers at Duke University in North Carolina assessed the gait measurement of just under 1000 people in New Zealand, who were born in 1970 and had had their pace of walking documented when they were three years old. The results showed that slower walkers had aged quicker than those who walked faster, particularly in terms of their brain, lungs, teeth and immune systems. If that wasn’t enough, the slower walkers also looked older.
“Doctors know that slow walkers in their seventies and eighties tend to die sooner than fast walkers of the same age,” said senior author Terrie E. Moffitt from Duke University. “But 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.”
Not all is lost though, as researchers believe that lifestyle choices would have played a role in the ageing process. For example, those who have chosen not to exercise are likely to have aged quicker and there are plenty of studies to back-up the argument that working out regularly can help keep you mentally and physically healthier. Just last week a study in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology highlighted that exercise can help those over 65 years who experience symptoms of depression.
What else can you do? Well, it goes without saying that eating a balanced diet and keeping your stress levels down are also essential to fending off premature ageing. Shabir also recommends keeping your antioxidant levels up to counteract the damage caused by free radicals. Astaxanthin is 6000 times more powerful than vitamin C and 500 times more powerful than green tea. Intrigued? Read Shabir’s full guide to the antioxidant, here.
Those who are open to more experimental methods for slowing down the ageing process might be interested in the ticking technique. Earlier this year, scientists at Leeds University discovered that ‘tickle’ therapy or ticking the ear with a small electrical current can help to rebalance the nervous system of 55 year olds. It might not be for everyone, but if you’re worried about your walking pace then a quick tickle might help in a small way to counterbalance…