Gait speed predicts survival in older adults; however, gait has not been evaluated in late middle-aged (LMA) populations.
Evaluate single- and dual-task gait speeds among sedentary (SED), recreationally active (RA), and masters athlete (MA) LMA adults.
Participants were SED (n = 20, age = 61.0 ± 5.8), RA (n = 57, age = 63.5 ± 8.4), and MA (n = 25, age = 57.5 ± 7.9). Two trials of each task (10 m) were completed: habitual speed (HS), maximal speed (MS), dual-task (counting backward from a number by 3) habitual speed (DT-HS), and dual-task maximal speed (DT-MS).
MA (2.08 ± 0.63 m/s) had significantly (p < .05) greater MS compared with SED (1.94 ± 0.30 m/s) and RA (1.99 ± 0.53 m/s). Similar differences existed for DT-MS (SED = 1.77 ± 0.32 m/s, RA = 1.80 ± 0.51 m/s, MA = 1.89 ± 0.63 m/s). MA had smaller MS and DT-MS changes (difference between MS and DT-MS speeds) compared with RA (12%) and SED (13%).
Maintaining a competitively active lifestyle increases MS in LMA adults and may support healthy aging.
Glenn, Vincenzo, Canella, Binns, and Gray are with the Department of Health, Human Performance and Recreation: Office for Studies on Aging, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR.