Slow walking pace is a good predictor of future mobility problems, reports a new study. The findings of the study are published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. Being able to walk outside for several blocks at a leisurely pace plays an important role in living a vibrant, healthy life. Walking short distances allows you to get the physical activity you need, live independently, go shopping, access health care, and engage in a social life. Being able to walk at even a slow speed is essential to all these benefits--but walking too slowly may foreshadow future problems that could prevent you from being fully mobile. ‘Slow down your walking speed to know whether you are at a higher risk of developing mobility problems or disabilities later in life.’Read More.. Until now, there has been no ideal way for healthcare providers to measure walking ability, since it involves more than just walking speed. It also is about how you deal with your environment (such as uneven pavement) and demands on your attention (such as traffic, other pedestrians, and street crossings). In a new study, researchers assessed ways to measure complex walking tasks to learn more about early, subtle changes in walking. In their study, the researchers examined whether performance on complex walking tasks involving both physical and mental challenges predicted a higher risk for an inability to walk one-quarter mile (roughly four blocks). The researchers suspected that these complex walking tasks would be more strongly tied to the risk for mobility problems than simple walking. The research team studied information from the Health Aging and Body Composition (Health ABC) study, which enrolled black and white adults in Pittsburgh and Memphis from 1997 to 1998. The participants were 70 to 79 years old when they entered the study, and they had no difficulty walking a quarter mile or climbing 10 steps without resting. In the study, participants walked on several different paths and were given several different challenges to measure their walking speed and their ability to cope with mental and physical tasks at the same time. Researchers then followed up with participants every six months to see if they had any difficulty walking one-quarter mile due to a health or physical problem. Participants reported any mobility problems or disabilities every year at in-person visits. By the end of the eight-year follow-up, more than half of the participants had developed mobility disability, meaning they were unable to walk one-quarter mile. Almost 40 percent had developed chronic mobility disability that lasted at least two years. Participants who reported having mobility disability were more likely to be female, have diabetes, be obese, have knee pain, and experience breathing difficulty. They also had more symptoms of depression. The research team concluded that slow walking speed under both usual-pace and complex conditions was associated with greater risk for developing mobility disability over the next eight years. They also concluded that measuring your simple walking speed in the healthcare provider's office may be enough for your provider to learn whether you might be at risk for future mobility problems.Source: Eurekalert << Enzyme for Normal Wound Healing in Diabetics Mediterranean Diet Lowers Risk of Diabetes and Weight Gain i... >> Recommended Reading Your Walking Pace May Now Predict Your Risk For Heart Disease Scientists have established slower walking speed as a new tool to measure risk of cardiovascular mortality or heart disease. READ MORE Fast Walkers may Live Longer Walking has forever been a popular exercise to stay fit, but the speed a person walks may help them live longer. A new study finds that brisk walkers tend to have longer lifespan regardless of body weight. READ MORE Top 4 Trends in Walking for Health Busy from Monday to Friday? Don't find time or space to walk? Here are some interesting places to walk even in crowded cities, making it more fun and healthy. READ MORE Body Types and Befitting Workouts Workout and diet which is well suited for a pear shaped body. READ MORE Walking As An Exercise People walk for many reasons ranging from pleasure to mental relaxation, finding solitude or for exercise. READ MORE Walking for Fitness and Weight Loss A few extra steps a day are enough to keep you fit. READ MORE Who Else Wants to Know How Walking Helps Heart and Brain? Walking early morning would improve your health as it helps heart and brain to function properly. Find more about its benefits for your body. READ MORE Most Popular on Medindia Drug Interaction Checker Drug - Food Interactions Calculate Ideal Weight for Infants More News on: Body Types and Befitting WorkoutsWalking for Fitness and Weight LossWalking As An ExerciseWho Else Wants to Know How Walking Helps Heart and Brain?