Why does your WALKING SPEED matter? (Walk Talk – Episode 1)

Did you know that your walking speed can predict the likelihood of being hospitalized and it is such an important measure of your body’s function, it has been called a vital sign? I’m Will Riddick and in our first Walk Talk, we’re covering walking speed and what it means for your health.

Walking is amazing. Our bodies are able to walk for miles and do so at an extremely efficient rate. Most people walk between 2.7 and 3.1 mph, and while that seems slow compared to modern day vehicles, we are able to maintain that pace for a LONG time.

We are actually able to cover long distances better than most other mammals on Earth. We are like well-oiled, high performance machines when it comes to walking. Automobiles are typically designed to be most efficient at highway speeds, around 55 miles per hour.

We too have an internally set “most efficient speed”. To see this, all we need to do is to look at a graph comparing walking speed and the energy needed to cover a certain distance, such as this one.

When we find the walking speed with the least energy needed, we find our most efficient walking speed. On this graph it is about here and this speed has been found to be about 3 mph for most people. It’s no coincidence that this is exactly in the ballpark of usual human speeds.

Unfortunately, walking does not always go well, and any problem in walking will significantly impact this speed. As such, this makes walking speed an indicator of a person’s physical capability. In a 2009 study, called “Walking Speed, The Sixth Vital Sign”, researchers pulled together a collection of data showing the implications of a reduced walking speed.

For those walking slower than 1.3 mph, there is an increased risk for incidents requiring hospitalization. Compare that to walking faster than 2.2 mph, which actually reduced the risk for hospitalization.

Speeds greater than 2.2 mph were also correlated to greater independence in daily function and walking. That makes this speed, an excellent goal to achieve. So how do you check your speed? All you need is a tape measure, two small items to mark a distance, a stopwatch, and a calculator.

Measure a 20-foot distance on the ground and place two objects on the ground to mark each end. Pens can work for this purpose. Then walk comfortably between the two marks, starting a little behind the first pen and walking past the second one.

Start the timer when you cross the first pen and stop it when you cross the second. To calculate your speed in miles per hour, divide 13.64 by the time it took you to cover the 20- foot distance. This is your walking speed.

What do you do if yours is slow? Reach out to your doctor about participating in physical therapy for your walking. There are many things that can be done to help restore your efficiency and speed, from exercises to intensive walking re-training.

Walking speed says a lot about you, make sure it says something good! Thanks for watching our first episode of Walk Talk. In our next episode we are going to talk about tripping and catching your foot when you walk, so be on the lookout for that video.

If you are new to Mission Gait, check out our website at MissionGait.org. To see more of these videos, you can either click the link in the corner to subscribe or you can visit our YouTube channel at YouTube.

com/missiongait. did you know that your walking speed can predict the likelihood of being hospitalized and it is such an important measure of your body’s function that it’s been called a vital sign I’m will Riddick and in our first walk talk we’re covering walking speed and what it means for your health walking is amazing and our bodies are able to walk for miles and do so in an extremely efficient rate and most people walk between two point seven and 3.

1 miles per hour while that seems slow compared to modern-day vehicles we’re able to maintain that pace for a long time we’re actually able to cover long distances better than most other mammals on earth we’re like well oiled high-performance machines when it comes to walking automobiles are typically designed to be most efficient at highway speeds around 55 miles per hour and we too have an internally set most efficient speed to see this all we need to do is to look at a graph comparing walking and energy needed to cover a certain distance such as this one when we find the walking speed with the least energy needed we find our most efficient walking speed on this graph it’s about here and this speed has been found to be about three miles per hour for most people it’s no coincidence that this is exactly in the ballpark of usual human speeds unfortunately walking does not always go well and any problem in walking will significantly impact the speed as such this makes walking speed an indicator of a person’s physical capability in 2009 study called walking speed the sixth vital sign researchers pulled together a collection of data showing the implications of a reduced walking speed for those walking slower than 1.

3 miles per hour there is an increased risk for incidents for quiring hospitalization now compare that to walking faster than 2.2 miles per hour which actually reduce the risk for hospitalization and speeds greater than 2.

2 miles per hour we’re also correlated to greater independence and daily function and walking that makes this speed an excellent goal to achieve so how do you check your speed all you need is a tape measure to small items to mark a distance a stopwatch and a calculator measure a 20-foot distance on the ground and place two objects on the ground to mark each pens can work for this purpose then walk comfortably between the two marks starting a little behind the first pin and walking past the second one you start the timer when you cross the first pin and stop it when you cross the second to calculate your speed in miles per hour divide thirteen point six four by the time it took you to cover the twenty foot distance this is your walking speed what do you do if yours is slow reach out to your doctor about participating in physical therapy for your walking there are many things that can be done to help restore your efficiency and speed from exercises to intensive walking retraining walking speed says a lot about you make sure it says something good thanks for watching our first episode of LOC talk in our next episode we’re going to talk about tripping and catching your foot when you walk so be on the lookout for that video if you’re new to mission gauge check out our website at michigan gait org and to see more of these videos you can either click the link in the corner to subscribe or you can visit our youtube channel at youtube.

com slash mission gate so you know two small items to walk market

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