What does it mean for our health if we cannot walk and talk at the same time?
Scientists from Harvard Medical School found the ability to juggle both tasks, walking and talking at the same time, starts to drop off by age 55! That’s a decade earlier than previously thought! And the experts say we should be “routinely monitored starting in middle age” to prevent falls and injuries.
Most middle-aged people have no trouble walking or talking – separately. But when study subjects – between the ages of 40 and 65 – were asked to walk and perform simple math equations in their head at the same time, slight but significant changes were observed in their gait, starting with people in their 50s!
It’s called dual-tasking – when you walk and talk at the same time. Or in the case of the study, walk and figure out math problems. And it’s an important marker for health problems. Because walking is an almost automatic function – we don’t consciously think about doing it.
When our brain is occupied with a conversation – or addition and subtraction – our walking should remain steady. But when it doesn’t, it means the brain is overloading and walking isn’t as automatic as it should be!
So, if you can’t walk and talk as seamlessly as you used to, definitely talk to your doctor. Because it’s one of the first indications of brain aging.
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