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Improvement in Gait Speed Predicts 35% Better Survival for Seniors

Fall injuries present a serious health risk for seniors who are losing strength, conditioning, and coordination due to age, but does improving gait result in improved health? The research of Susan Hardy, MD and colleagues says “yes

.” They recruited 439 adults age 65 and older to measure multiple possible predictors of mortality that could be used in primary care. They found that seniors who demonstrated a mere 0.1 meter per second improvement in habitual gait speed in just the first year of measurement had an eight-year survival rate improved by 35%. Even participants who showed a gait speed improvement in one quarter but lost it before the end of the year had an eight-year survival rate that was 16% better. Activities that can improve gait speed may be quite worthwhile for seniors.

When seniors experience a fall injury and chronic risk factors are present, a complete fall prevention physiotherapy program is indicated. For maintenance and general exercise, Advanced’s Pilates classes stand out as an excellent choice. Seniors can participate in groups at their own level/ Specifically, research has demonstrated that Pilates can increase leg strength and gait speed among people over 60.(2)



  1. Hardy S, Perera S, Foumani Y, et al. Improvement in usual gait speed predicts better survival in older adults. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2007; 55 (11): 1727-1734.
  2. Mohammadi M, Kaldırımcı M, Kazemi SE, Mızrak O, Tuğrulhanşam C. The effect of Pilates exercise on gait speed and strength of lower limb in elderly male. Adv Appl Sci Res. 2015;6(7):1-6.

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