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We all want to be like those people who seem to age well. You know — the ones who get laugh lines, not wrinkles, whose memories remain sharp as a tack, and who get stronger, healthier and more vital as the years pass.
But we also know there’s a good chance things won’t turn out so well…
Some of us will instead suffer from frailty as we age — a condition that makes it far more likely a nursing home is in our future.
And now, there may be a way to determine which group you’re in — just in time to do something about it.
The single strongest predictor of frailty
In fact, according to a team of researchers from Sao Paulo, Brazil, determining if you are at high risk of frailty could be as easy as noticing how fast you walk.
That’s because once again scientists are finding that gait speed is a highly important indicator of your health. Slow walking has been linked to everything from increased risk of COVID-19 to lower brain volume and memory problems.
Previous studies have shown it can predict whether or not a person is likely to be able to continue to perform their normal activities of daily living down the road — at least when it was combined with a number of other factors.
But now, after analyzing data from more than 3,000 over-60’s, those Brazil scientists say that gait speed alone is enough to tell you if you’re likely to be able to care for yourself in the future or if frailty is in the cards.
“Our study showed that measuring gait speed alone is sufficient for efficient prediction of loss of functional capacity in older adults. Based on our findings, we can say that slowness of gait precedes this loss by several years,” said Tiago da Silva Alexandre, principal investigator for the study.
So if you’re worried about how well you’re aging, it’s time to start paying attention to how fast you walk and work at picking your feet up a little faster.
Staying strong and walking faster as you age
The good news though is that you have time to turn things around. The researchers found that even if you already have a slower than normal gait speed, it could be years before frailty and the loss of functional capacity set in.
In the meantime, there are ways to boost your strength and stave off frailty, including:
- Getting your exercise – Physical activity helps your body build back to live stronger, longer. Past studies have even shown that just 10 minutes of exercise alters 9,815 molecules in your body!
- Whistling while you work – Research has shown that doing the housework leads to a sharper memory, less frailty and fewer falls in older adults.
- Fueling your muscles based on your age – Seniors need more protein to support strong, healthy muscles as they age.
- Taking probiotics – “Good” bacteria of in your gut microbiota make substances that help your muscles become larger after exercising. So keep that good bacteria flourishing by taking a high-quality probiotic supplement daily.
Editor’s note: While you’re doing all the right things to protect your brain as you age, make sure you don’t make the mistake 38 million Americans do every day — by taking a drug that robs them of an essential brain nutrient! Click here to discover the truth about the Cholesterol Super-Brain!
A sluggish, unsteady walk might signal memory problems – Harvard Health Publishing