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Gait Speed: The Functional Vital Sign

Walking speed, also known as gait speed or gait velocity, is “almost the perfect measure” according to many clinicians. It’s a reliable, sensitive and specific measure that correlates closely with functional ability and balance confidence. This measurement has the potential to predict future health status and functional decline, including hospitalization, discharge location and mortality.

Walking speed is a crucial metric among many in the senior’s mobility health profile. Stride and step integrity, walk cadence and gait uniformity are also telling indicators. For those that use a mobility aid, the percentage of weight offloaded to the aid is also important insight.

Click here to read more about walking speed and what it tells us about senior health.

J Aging Phys Act. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2016 Apr 1.

Published in final edited form as:

J Aging Phys Act. 2015 Apr; 23(2): 314–322.

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