New research has indicated that walking speed may be a reliable determinant when it comes to predicting life expectancy and the faster the speed, the healthier the adult.
In fact, the findings were so accurate for those age 75 and over that the researchers who conducted the study compared walking speed to a vital sign that indicates overall health, such as blood pressure or heart rate.
"Your body chooses the walking speed that is best for you, and that is your speed, your health indicator," researcher Dr. Stephanie Studenski said. "And that's what it really is: an indicator. Going out and walking faster does not necessarily mean you will suddenly live longer. You still need to address the underlying health issues."
Walking can also be a good exercise for balance and strength, which can help against falls at home. Older adults who are looking to live safely and independently during the golden years may also want to invest in a personal emergency response system. This device can be used to send a medical alert to doctors or neighbors if assistance is required.