Surprising Health Clues In The Way You Walk
Published: June 11, 2012
Surprising Health Clues In The Way You Walk, If you don’t swing your arms as you move, it could indicate future lower back trouble. Walk into an exam room and a trained eye can tell a lot about you in seconds: Your stride, gait, pace, and posture while walking can reveal surprising information about your overall health and well-being.
“Many physicians are keenly aware, when they see someone walking down the street, what their diagnosis might be, whether their underlying health is good or bad, and if not good, a number of tip-offs to what might be wrong,” says Charles Blitzer, an orthopedic surgeon in Somersworth, New Hampshire, and a spokesperson for the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons.
Find out what the following 15 walking styles may signal about your health.
Walking speed is a reliable marker for longevity, according to a University of Pittsburgh*n*lysis of nine large studies, reported in a January 2011 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association. The 36,000 subjects were all over age 65. In fact, predicting survival based on walking speed proved to be as accurate as using age, S-EX-, chronic conditions, smoking, body mass index, hospitalizations, and other common markers. It’s especially accurate for those over age 75.
The average speed was 3 feet per second (about two miles an hour). Those who walked slower than 2 feet per second (1.36 miles per hour) had an increased risk of dying. Those who walked faster than 3.3 feet per second (2.25 miles per hour) or faster survived longer than would be predicted simply by age or gender.
A 2006 report in JAMA found that among adults ages 70 to 79, those who couldn’t walk a quarter mile were less likely to be alive six years later. They were also more likely to suffer illness and disability before death. An earlier study of men ages 71 to 93 found that those who could walk two miles a day had half the risk of heart attack of those who could walk only a quarter mile or less.
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