Running or walking in pairs, for example with your spouse or partner, can actually slow down and therefore decrease the physical activity you perform. It is the result that some researchers at Purdue University have obtained in a study published in Gait & Posture.
One of the two researchers, Libby Richards, associate professor of nursing, however, is keen to specify that any physical activity, even the slowest walk, is always a positive factor compared to immobility or physical activity that is too low, a factor certainly to be take into account when analyzing the results achieved by this study.
In any case, the researcher examined the walking speed of 72 couples aged between 25 and 79 in different environments, for example some with obstacles and others without. The researcher noted that couples could walk together, sometimes holding hands, and this slowed down the pace of one partner who, obviously, had to keep up with the other. This slowdown in gait, in fact, can partially nullify some of the benefits that can be obtained with more sustained physical activity which can be that of walking at a higher speed.
“Speed of gait is important to measure because it correlates with overall health. Typical gait speed is predictive of fall risk, functional capacity, disability recovery and mortality, ”explains Shirley Rietdyk, professor of health and kinesiology.[