New research finds that people who tend to walk more slowly at the age of 45 present with signs of premature accelerated aging, both physically and cognitively. Walking speed may be a powerful predictor of lifespan and health. A recent study, reported on by Medical News Today, found that the faster a person walks, the longer they may live, with older adults benefitting the most from a brisk pace. Medical professionals have long used gait speed as a marker of health and fitness among older adults, but the new research asks a slightly different question: Does a slow gait speed in midlife indicate and predict accelerated aging? Line J. H. Rasmussen, Ph.D., a researcher in the department of psychology and neuroscience at Duke University, in Durham, NC, and colleagues set out to answer this question by examining data from 904 study participants. Rasmussen and the team published their findings in the journal JAMA Network Open. "Doctors know that slow walkers in their 70s and 80s tend to die sooner than fast walkers their same age," adds senior author Terrie E. Moffitt, the Nannerl O. Keohane University professor of psychology at Duke University and senior author of the study. "But this study covered the period from the preschool years to midlife and found that a slow walk is a problem sign decades before old age." says Prof. Terrie E. Moffitt.