• March 31, 2021

Gait Velocity: the 6th Vital Sign!

gait velocity if the sixth vital sign

Gait Velocity: the 6th Vital Sign!

Gait Velocity: the 6th Vital Sign! 1024 683 Positive Energy Physical Therapy

Gait Velocity is a Powerful Predictor of Health and Longevity

Vital signs are measurements of the body’s most basic functions and are useful in monitoring general health. The five most important vital signs are the following:

  1. Body temperature
  2. Pulse rate
  3. Respiration rate
  4. Blood pressure
  5. Oxygen saturation (SpO2)

What if I told you that one of the most powerful predictors of health and longevity is gait velocity?

Gait velocity, a.k.a. how fast you walk or gait speed, is not only crucial in determining how fast you can grab the phone, but it is a powerful predictor of clinical outcome. It is often mentioned as the sixth vital sign.

How is gait velocity measured?

Gait velocity is measured using a timer and a predetermined distance, usually several meters. The time it takes to walk the distance is divided by the distance covered to derive the gait velocity.

Why is gait velocity important?

Gait velocity is important for several reasons. Clinically, there are threshold values which are good predictors of everything from crossing the street safely to future mortality. For more practical, daily functions, how fast you walk can help or hinder your daily activities such as rushing for the elevator.

What contributes to gait velocity?

There are several factors which contribute to gait velocity.

  • Strong muscles of the legs and core are needed to provide adequate force production.
  • Good balance and coordination, which contribute to proper timing of muscle activation are important.
  • Having proper mechanics are also important. Limping is slower than normal walking.
  • Lastly, confidence plays a factor. Even if your body is ready, an unwilling mind can limit gait speed.

good balance and coordination contribute to gait velocity

Positive Energy’s Gait Analysis Can Help

If you are interested in improving your gait and gait velocity, our gait analysis can help pinpoint the limiting factor to your gait velocity. This allows us to create a personalized, targeted approach to your needs to help you get back to your old self!

Please talk to one of Positive Energy’s physical therapists to learn more.