PEOPLE who walk slowly in middle age face a greater risk of dying early and developing serious illness, a study says.
Those who dawdle at the age of 45 also have worse memory, weaker hands and immune systems, poorer lungs and smaller brains.
Scientists warned slow walkers — less than 4.5mph or 2m per second — were “on the road to an early grave” unless they exercise more, eat healthily and stop smoking.
The experts studied 904 volunteers, now all aged 45, from birth. They gave them brain scans and mental and physical tests.
Slow walkers were more likely to have had a low IQ at three and suffer from worse health.
Their bodies and brains looked and functioned older than brisk strollers.
A maximum speed of 7.8mph, or 3.5m per second, indicated good health and less than 2.2mph, or 1m per second, poor health.
Prof Terrie Moffitt of Duke University in North Carolina, US, said of slow walkers: “It’s probable they will die younger and develop illnesses, such as dementia, if they do not turn their life around.”
She urged people to time their fastest possible walk to and from the shops and to get healthy.