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Association of Neurocognitive and Physical Function with Gait Speed in Midlife (jamanetwork.com)
55 points by bookofjoe 29 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 19 comments



I think this study is missing something - adults are expected to walk slow sort of.

As a kid, I ran everywhere - even on errands. As an ambitious teen in uni, I walked very fast like I was stepping on hot coals until I got this girl who wasn't my "girlfriend" but we spent a lot of time together. Then she trained the speed-walking out of me. At first, I was always in front of her without realizing it. Then like a puppy on a leash, she'd tug me back until her speed became my normal walking speed.

10 years later, I still walk at that pace and run out of breath whenever I walk to get out of the hot sun.

As an adult, I'm expected to walk at a measured pace. There are times I'd want to just jump and start running but I can't, cos people would think I've gone mad, unless I have an excuse - rain.

So I'll say the gait speed of adults is more of a measure of how they have been walking for years.


If you change your walking habits based on what you think others think of them, it might be a good time to reevaluate how important external validation is for you. I'm not saying this to be condescending, it is my personal and very subjective opinion that it doesn't seem like a healthy approach to living a life. There's nothing wrong with matching the pace when you walk with someone else, your daily habits are something else, though. You should decide what's good for you, not the opinions of others.


Unfortunately, the opinions of others often intrude on your dream world, and determine whether or not you are employed, married, incarcerated, etc.


>As an adult, I'm expected to walk at a measured pace. There are times I'd want to just jump and start running but I can't, cos people would think I've gone mad

What are the chances you're ever going to see any of those people who'll 'think you're mad' on a daily basis, or even again at all and if you do how will them 'thinking you're mad' affect your life in any way?

Also, people are far too worried about what other people think of them to care how fast or slow you walk.


Some people cower and wince and shrink, owing to fear of what others might think. There is one answer to worries like these: people may think what the devil they please.

I make it a matter of principle to do childish things when I feel like it, and I think it helps keep me young(er). Had to stop jumping over the fence when picking up my kids from preschool though after a teacher told me it made it harder for them to keep the kids from leaving the premises. Can't win them all!


Young Black men have to be trained to stop running everywhere about age 11.

In the United States of America. In 2019.

(I am not Black. Friends I trust have told me this.)


If that's your neighbours then pretty high.


I've always been a fast walker. I hate being in crowds where people are moseying along at a slow pace. Last year I finished a half marathon about 10 minutes slower than my brother, who was running/jogging, while I walked (albeit faster than normal) most of the way. I noticed it took more energy to jog/run at the slow pace of the people around me than it was to just walk the same speed.


It sounds to me like your evidence is entirely based on one friend. Anything else you've noticed might be confirmation bias. Personally I haven't noticed any such expectation, and I have a girlfriend who tugs me forward if I walk too slowly.

Spend some time on a treadmill, get used to walking faster, and you might find that people don't give you funny looks after all.


I find that slow walking is way more tiring than going fast. When going fast it is initially more taxing but when muscles adjust the inertia caused seems to be easier to control. Walking slow is more laborious for balance imo. This is my experience and I don’t have the best posture either so ymmv


> I find that slow walking is way more tiring than going fast.

The physics is probably something like: A leg is a pendulum, so its length determines the natural frequency, which corresponds to a gait requiring least energy. Move away from that frequency and you have to do work.


I agree, I especially notice it when forced to trudge up the stairs to exit the subway.

When the stairs are crowded the pace is set by the slowest person on the staircase.

On the rare occasions where I find the stairs empty, and I can run up, I find it less taxing.


In our family we call it the museum shuffle.

You need to get your legs swinging nicely to be efficient


Yes! I get extremely tired when I walk in a museum as I need to look at things. At the end of the day I am extremely exhausted but if I look at the "mileage" it is very low. I wonder if there's a more scientifically sound explanation for this phenomenon


It's sensory overload. Which is indeed physically exhausting.


I'm curious if height is accounted for: nutritional deficiencies in childhood manifest themselves in both decreased height and decreased neurocognitive function. Decreased height would also lead to a decreased gait speed.


Thus confirming the suspicions of every New Yorker stuck walking behind a tourist.


I love how readable this report is! If more research study reports were written in this approachable manner we might end up with a more scientifically literate society.


Now when I'm stuck behind slow people in a narrow space, I can think of them not only as potentially gravely ill on the verge of collapsing, but also consider how their mental faculties are rapidly declining. This is science with obvious benefits!




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