The Significance of Walking Speed in Physical Function Among a Group of Community Dwelling Older Adults

Friday, 25 July 2014: 11:25 AM

Jie Yu, PhD, RN
School of Nursing, Azusa Pacific University, Monrovia, CA

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to describe the extent to which the variable walking speed correlated with the modified physical function, which was measured by the combination of balance and sit-to-stand tests.  

Methods: The study sample included 70 community living older adults. Subjects were screened for cognitive function with the Mini Mental State Exam (MMSE) and physical function data were collected using the Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB).  

Results: Results of this study showed that there was significant correlation between walking speed and physical function; therefore it was reliable to use walking speed as a sole surrogate of the assessment of physical function.  


This study further supports the significance of walking speed in the assessments of physical function in the elderly. Findings from this study provide valuable information regarding the contributive value of walking speed in physical function and disability status, especially for frail elderly who have difficulties completing complex battery physical function tests. Researchers can be better prepared in determining the direction and developing specific interventions to maintain physical function among the elderly, such as implementing some smart home technologies to closely monitor the changes of functional status on a daily basis.