Fast walkers are more likely to be extraverted, conscientious and open to new experiences.
Naturally, though, with age, people tend to walk more slowly.
However, those high in extraversion, conscientiousness and openness to new experience did not slow down as much as they got older.
The study’s authors conclude:
“This study provides robust evidence that walking speed in adulthood reflects, in part, the individual’s personality.”
The results come from over 15,000 people between 25 and 100 years old.
They were given personality tests and their walking style was assessed from their usual gait.
Walking quickly was most strongly linked to two personality traits, the authors write:
“Extraversion and conscientiousness were the most consistent personality correlates of walking speed.
Active and enthusiastic individuals and those with self-discipline and organization walked faster at follow-up and declined less in gait speed over time in the HRS.”
Neurotic people, though, tended to walk more slowly.
Much research has already linked walking slowly to all sorts of negative outcomes, the study’s authors explain:
“…slower gait is predictive of a range of deleterious outcomes, including poor mental health, higher risk of incident functional
limitations and disability, impaired cognition and incident dementia, and ultimately higher mortality risk.”
So, stop dawdling there on the sidewalk!
The study was published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science (Stephan et al., 2017).