Faster walkers at 45 have younger brains, bodies: study
Researchers from Duke University found that the fast walking speed of 45-year-olds can be used as a marker of their aging brains and bodies.
The study published on Friday in the journal JAMA Network Open showed that slower walkers were shown to have "accelerated aging" on multiple measures while their lungs, teeth and immune systems tended to be in worse shape than the people who walked faster.
The data came from a long-term study of nearly 1,000 people who were born during a single year in New Zealand. The 904 research participants in the current study have been tested, quizzed and measured, according to the study.
Also, the researchers found that cognitive testing when those individuals were three-year-olds, including IQ, motor skills and emotional control, could predict their walking speed at age 45.
The most recent brain exams showed the slower walkers tended to have lower total brain volume, lower mean cortical thickness, less brain surface area and higher incidence of small lesions in white matter.
The study suggests that there are already signs in the early life of those who would become the slowest walkers, although some of the differences in health and cognition may be tied to the lifestyle choices those individuals have made.