Why do some seniors experience rapid decline in their daily function while others continue strongly and independently into their nineties and beyond?
A group of researchers in Japan tried to answer this question.
They measured a lot of factors that might influence an individual’s health, longevity and ability to function independently – what doctors call an activities of daily living assessment (the ADL index).
Better Performance on Activities of Daily Living Test
The three measures that predicted better performance on the activities of daily living test were
- Blood pressure, and
- Walking speed
Surprisingly, the measurement that was the best predictor of ADL scores was walking speed.
Other research provides corroboration to these findings. For instance, a study from the University of Pittsburgh that was released in 2007 showed that, among those over age 65, the fastest group of walkers (more than 2.5 mph) had a 90% likelihood of surviving ten years or more compared to only a 20% chance for those in the slowest group (less than 1.5 mph).
What makes this news even better is that there’s no upper age limit to the body’s inner power of regeneration and adaptation. That means anyone, at any age, can improve his or her walking speed. It’s never too late.
And if you’re younger, now’s the time to boost your fitness and develop a reserve tank of energy.
What’s your plan? What are you doing today to enjoy life more fully and build your health?