Are you walking faster than the grim reaper?

Researchers at the University of Sydney, in Australia studied whether there was a relationship between slow walking speed and increased risk of death.

First, the details.

  • 1705 elderly men participated.
  • Optimal walking speed was estimated.

And, the results.

  • The average walking speed was 0.88 meters (2.9 feet) per second.
  • Survival analysis showed that older men who walked faster than 0.82 meters (2.7 feet) per second were 1.23 times significantly less likely to die than those who walked slower.
  • No men with walking speeds of 1.36 meters (4.46 feet) per second or greater had contact with Death.

The bottom line?

The authors concluded, “The grim reaper’s preferred walking speed is… 2 miles (about 3 km) per hour) under working conditions. As none of the men in the study with walking speeds of 1.36 meters per second (3 miles (about 5 km) per hour) or greater had contact with death, this seems to be the grim reaper’s most likely maximum speed; for those wishing to avoid their allotted fate, this would be the advised walking speed.”

It’s an odd way of telling us that a walker’s goal — in terms of speed — should be at least 3 miles per hour.

12/18/11 21:46 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.