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According to the Los Angeles Times Time to step it up — for older people, there may be a connection between walking at a faster pace and living longer. We first reported this study in summer 2009 when it was presented at the IAGG World Congress of Gerontology and Geriatrics in Paris. Tuesday the Journal of the American Medical Assn. released the study, which is again garnering attention.

Researchers analyzed nine studies of 34,485 adults age 65 or older. They and their walking speeds were followed for six to 21 years; the average speed among participants was about three feet per second.

As gait speed increased so did the number of estimated years of life left. Those who had a walking speed of 3.3 feet per second or higher had longer than expected survival rates for their age and sex alone.

“Walking requires energy, movement control, and support and places demands on multiple organ systems, including the heart, lungs, circulatory, nervous, and musculoskeletal systems,” the authors wrote. “Slowing gait may reflect both damaged systems and a high energy cost of walking.

As Americans are living longer it is even more important to be sure that patients look their best at every age. Providing the patient is healthy, there are no age limits for plastic surgery. Dr. O’Toole encourages older patients to consider facelifts, brow lifts, and blepharoplasty because it is not unusual for active older adults to look older than they feel. With Americans living longer plastic surgery is an excellent investment even for older adults.

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