In the past we have talked about walking in regards to peripheral vascular disease and claudication - do you remember? The goal was to help people walk longer before the pain in thier lower legs got to a certain level and forced them to stop.

Well another walking measure is being suggested from a small study that is reported from the citation below: The upshot is that many persons over the age of 80 have heart disease and may benefit from surgery. People with heart disease often have other diseases as well and may not be in the best shape, in fact, they may be frail - unless they are my MOM of course - she could kick my ass - but I digress. Most cardiologists are upset when their patients do no survive surgery. This study suggests that older persons who can walk about 15 feet in six seconds have a better chance of surviving this invasive surgery than those who take longer. Pretty cool - easy, cheap test. In a WSJ article about the same study and similar simple tests, a doctor notes that he gauges the health of some of his patients by their ease in getting in and out of chairs, up on the exam table as well as the strength of their handshake! OKAY, get out our yard stick and stop watch....

Joseph C. Cleveland Jr
Frailty, Aging, and Cardiac Surgery Outcomes: The Stopwatch Tells the Story
J Am Coll Cardiol 2010 56: 1677-1678