Slow gait speed is the single best predictor of functional decline and disability in many differing populations.
Traffic lights are set at the speed of 1.2m/s – 1.3m/s which is assumed to be the usual adult walking speed.
Reduction in baseline walking speed over 1 year is associated with poor health status, more disabilities, additional rehab visits, and longer hospital stays.
Balance is found to be the most important driver to improve gait speed. You will find that people who have poor balance do not like to walk slowly, so instead they compensate and walk faster so they are not in the ‘stance phase’ for too long.
Strength training is also very important in improving gait speed. Reduced ankle power in late stance is associated with slower overall walking. Knee extension strength when improved by 32% improves gait velocity by 8%.
So if you want to improve your walking speed you need to:
Do balance exercises which are challenging but achievable
Do strength exercises for your dorsiflexors and quadriceps muscles
Improve your hip extension range-> stretch your hip flexors
If you do want us to test what your walking speed is please let us know and we can test it on your next visit.