Walking speed.

BOURNEMOUTH, UNITED KINGDOM - (FILE) Mark Boyl...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Yesterday, I posted a piece about research that indicates that walking speed is a good predictor for mortality in 70-79 year old (original research paper). I then challenged people to see if they could walk as fast as the those people in their 70s.

“Now most of you reading this are not in their 70s but I challenge you to go walk 400m, or might as well make it a mile (4 laps around a track – close enough) and time yourself. Can you walk as fast as the fastest group of 70+ year olds which for a mile would equate to 14 min and 4 sec to 17 min and 16 sec ? I am betting most of you will not walk it in under 14 min and 4 seconds. But I am also hoping I am wrong :)

I took up my own challenge and my first lap time for the 400m walk was 2 min 57 sec, and my total time for the mile was 11 min 55 sec – which translates to 5 miles per hour (assuming it would only take me 5 seconds to travel another 9 meters to make up exactly a mile). Nothing to be proud of but yes I was able to beat the fastest 70 year old (14 min 4 sec). What about you? Also it will be interesting to see how much my walking speed decreases as I age.

JB had a comment that he thought the finding of walking speed correlation with mortality could be related to lean muscle mass as pointed out at the Arthur De Vaney website. I would agree with this possibility, but it is not dead easy to get accurate readings of your overall lean body mass. While on the other hand it is easy and cheap to test your walking speed.

So go out there and enjoy the weekend, but if you get a chance try to walk a timed and accurately measured mile (4 laps around track) and report back.

2 comments for “Walking speed.

  1. CC
    July 31, 2008 at 9:50 pm
  2. Ward
    August 1, 2008 at 8:08 am

    An excellent example for all of us. I hope to be as spry as he is at that age.
    He was an Olympic athlete – so the trick is to stay active all your life if you have any hope of matching him.