Some of the aspects of gait that may or may not change with aging include:
- Velocity of gait - stays stable until about 70, then will decline about 15% per decade. This is a very strong indicator of mortality. At 75, slow walkers die six years faster than fast walkers.
- Cadence - should not change with aging unless there is a disorder present.
- Double stance time - this is where both feet are on the ground momentarily when moving. This tends to increase with age, as older people have weaker muscles and may be afraid to fall.
- Walking posture - may change slightly with aging.
- Joint motion - may change a bit with aging.
Gait can change markedly as we age due to either neurologic disorders such as Parkinson's disease, or musculoskeletal disorders, such as spinal stenosis.
If you or a loved one is having any problems with their gait, you should be evaluated by a medical professional as soon as possible. Your medical professional will most likely evaluate you as follows:
- Discuss your complaints and fears related to your mobility
- Watch your gait with and without an assisting device
- Assess all gait components
- Observe your gait again after she knows the components of your gait
Some of the ways that your gait can be improved in the older years is to utilize strength training, balance training and assistive devices. Talk to your doctor about the best strength training and balance training regimens. Some of the assistive devices you can purchase include walkers and canes, such as our Easy Fold and Go Walker: