Why Do I Walk So Slow?--Causes
and Top 7 Natural Remedies
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Last updated May 26, 2017, originally published September 10, 2013,

By Louise Carr, Associate Editor and Featured Columnist

[Health and fitness articles are reviewed by our team of Doctors and
Registered Nurses, Certified fitness trainers and other members of our
Editorial Board.]




Strolling through town and stopping to smell the roses is
great if you’re relaxed and have the time to spend on your
walk. But how about when you’re in a rush to get
somewhere but you can’t seem to walk any quicker? Are you
frustrated by the time it takes you to get places? Do you
worry there is something wrong because you walk so slowly?

Humans tend to walk at about 3mph but are capable of
speeds of up to 5.6mph (when the store is closing or the bus
is pulling away from the curb). Conversely, walking speeds
of near to zero mph are not uncommon in some people. Most
people pick a walking speed which is comfortable – not too
fast and not too slow. If you think your pace is too much like
a tortoise and not enough like a hare, is there something
medically wrong? What can you do to increase your walking
speed?

Slow Walkers Make Less Money?

Your walking speed is often less a reflection of your state of
health and more of an indication of how much you value
your time – in particular, the time you are spending walking
to a place or event. Now, research has linked slow walking to
your income level.

A 1999 study from researchers at the University of Michigan
and California State University, Fresno looking at walking
speeds in 31 different countries showed preferred walking
speed is matched with a country’s per capita GDP as well as
the levels of individualism in the country.

The faster you walk, the higher you value individualism and
the greater your country’s GDP, according to the research.
People in richer countries tend to walk more quickly.

Slow Walking Is Linked to Health Problems

However, slow or fast walking is not only a reflection of
where you live and how affluent your country. Walking
slowly can predict risks of developing serious health
conditions like dementia and heart disease, according to
recent research.

Walking slowly can predict a higher risk of suffering
dementia in later life, according to 2012 research from the
Boston Medical Centre. Researchers looked at over 2,000
people who were aged on average 62 years old. Slower
walking speeds were associated with a greater risk of
dementia in later life.

A 2009 study from INSERM, Pairs, France revealed a strong
association between walking slowly and death from heart
attacks, as well as other cardiovascular problems.

Slow walking may even predict survival rates in old age.
2011 research from University of Pittsburgh, and National
Personal Protective Technology Laboratory, Pittsburgh,
Pennsylvania, looked at walking speed and correlated it with
life expectancy using data from over 34,000 older adults. A
faster walking speed was associated with longer life
expectancy in older adults. (Read more about the connection
between
fast walking and longevity.)

What affects your walking speed and how can you change
it? Here we present causes and remedies from recent
scientific research into walking speed and health.



























1.
Lose Weight to Walk Faster?

The higher your body mass, the more difficult it is to walk –
this is surely not news to anyone who has struggled with
their weight. It comes as no surprise that losing weight
helps your walking experience become more pleasant.

But do obese people really walk more slowly?
A 2006
research
study from the University of Colorado suggests not.
In the study, preferred walking speed was not different
across the groups which were made up of obese and normal
weight men and women.

All the participants walked near the speed that minimized the
amount of energy spent during the exercise. However,
obesity is associated with mobility problems as well as many
other health issues so it still pays to keep an eye on your
waistline. (What is a
normal waist size for your height? Read
more.)

2.
You May Be Tired… Walk Faster!

Faster walking minimizes the physical cost of walking, even
if you are putting in more aerobic effort – slow walking can
actually be more tiring, according to 2005 research from the
University of Colorado, Boulder.

Researchers suggested that walking slower for a set distance
would be a better weight management program for obese
individuals.

So, if you walk slowly it may be because you are more tired
from the effort of putting one foot in front of the other.
Speed it up and you’ll find walking gets easier and you’ll
have the energy to maintain a faster speed.

3.
Visual Flow Affects Walking Speed

The rate at which your surroundings flow past you seems to
regulate your walking speed, according to a 2007 study from
the University of Utah. When visual clues are flying past you
more quickly you prefer to walk more slowly, and vice versa.
Researchers suggest this is because you are using your
vision to maintain optimal walking speed.

4.
Leg Pain Causes You to Walk Slower

As we get older, we tend to walk slower. Why is that? A
1989 study from the University of Nottingham Medical
School, Queen's Medical Centre, UK looked at factors that
affected the speed of elderly people’s walks.

In women, reported leg pain was negatively associated with
walking speed, as would be expected.

The presence of lower limb health problems can severely
affect how fast you walk so visit your doctor to try to find a
solution to leg pain before it becomes disabling. (Read about
leg swelling and natural remedies that can help.)

5.
Increase Maximal Oxygen Uptake To Walk Faster

Let's get technical. Your aerobic capacity is how much
oxygen you need to do certain exercises. If I have a greater
aerobic capacity than you, it means I will tire less easily than
you in any given aerobic exercise such as running, swimming
or walking. Scientists measure the maximum capacity of your
body to use oxygen when you exercise as your "VO2" level.

Aerobic capacity is directly associated with walking speed,
according to a 1982 study by DA Cunningham, PA
Rechnitzer, ME Pearce, and AP Donner. Men aged between
19 and 66 were asked to walk for a distance of 240 meters
at four different paces.  

Each man was told to walk at a speed he considered "as fast
as possible", "normal fast", "normal" and "rather slowly".

Not surprisingly, the researchers found that the oldest men
in the group -- those between the ages of 55 and 66 ---
walked much slower than the youngest men at the "normal
fast" and "fast as you can" speeds.

But here is the great surprise. Age had nothing to do with
the speed of the walkers.

Instead, when the researchers studied the health data
measured during the walk, they discovered that, no matter
how old you are, how fast you walk depends on one factor
only --- your V02
, which measures your maximal oxygen
uptake.
Maximal oxygen uptake was the factor that most
affected walking paces, across all age groups, according to
the researchers. A 2004 study from Hôpital Arnaud de
Villeneuve, Montpellier, France demonstrated similar results.

6.
Walk Faster By Increasing Stability

Stability and joint strength can also affect the speed at which
you walk, according to experts.
Fast walking requires more
work per step, and a more efficient walking mechanism
which can only be achieved by a stable skeleton and body
structure.

A 2010 study from the Medical University of South Carolina
showed walking downhill is more effective when the walker
is more stable rather than faster. And a 2007 study by the
School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences, Virginia Tech
demonstrated that elderly individuals walked faster when
their ankles were reinforced by a stabilizing mechanism.
(Read about
swollen ankles and remedies that help.)

7.
Walk at Your Optimal Speed For Better Health

You may feel you are walking slowly but you could actually
be stepping out at the optimal speed for good health, which
is a moderate speed rather than a sprint. 2013 research from
the University of Massachusetts showed that about two
steps per second was the optimum speed at which walking
brought health benefits like lowering blood pressure and
helping keep stress at bay. Keep walking – even if you go
slowly, you’re doing your heart and your head a lot of good.

8.
Slow Walking Is a Sign of Parkinson's

Walking slowly can predict risks of developing serious health
conditions like dementia and heart disease, according to
recent research.  Slow walking is also a sign of Parkinson's
disease.

Parkinson's disease is identified by stiffness, tremor, and
slowness of movement. The signs usually start with difficulty
walking or getting up out of a chair and progress to
developing a "shuffling" walk with problems stopping,
starting, and making turns."













































Related:
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Top Health Benefits of  Walking Every Day

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Europeans Walk 3 Times Longer Than Americans

Swollen Ankles -Causes and Cures

The Only Type of Exercise That Reduces Your Waist

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