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Gait speed biometric indicator of cardiac health


The London Summer Games thrust the sport of race walking into the biometric spotlight. Everything about the sport has been put under the microscope such as the heel to toe action, how one foot must always be in contact with the ground, the swinging of the hips and even the action of the arms. The race is usually 20 kilometers long and could take about 2.5 to 3 hours to complete for the average person. Currently, the world record holder is Vladimir Kanaykin from Russia.

It is believed that you can know more about a person by looking at the way they walk. For example, people who are from the city or grew up deep in the urban jungle are usually in a hurry when they walk. They may not notice it at first, but as soon as they move into a laid back community, people can easily spot their distinct behavioral biometric. It is this theory that has also led many to believe that there is a connection between a person’s health status and the way they walk.

The Archives of Internal Medicine published a study this July stating that researchers have found a way to predict which elderly adults have the highest risk of hypertension by studying their gait speed.

They say that people who are hypertensive and walk at a very fast pace are likely to have elevated blood pressure levels. Those who walk slowly will not have increased blood pressure even though they are clinically hypertensive.

Another study conducted by the American Medical Association correlated gait speed with longevity. The organization analyzed the gait speed of 34,484 adults who were at least 65 years old or older. The study found that people with a normal walking speed tended to live longer than average compared to slow walking peers.

Will gait speed have an either a healthcare or biometric application?

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