How fast do you walk? That speed may predict the likelihood of developing dementia later in life, according to researchers in the US.
They also say that grip strength in middle-age was linked to the chance of a stroke.
Brain scans, walking speed and grip strength were recorded for nearly 2500 people who were, on average, 62 years old.
The results presented at the Academy of Neurology showed that 11 years later, 34 people had developed dementia and 79 had had a stroke.
The researchers said slower walking speeds were linked to a higher risk of dementia and weaker grip with a higher risk of stroke.
Frailty and lower physical performance in elderly people have been associated with those increased risks, but the researchers say they weren’t sure until now how it impacted middle-aged people.
Suggestions of a link between slow walking speed and poor health have been made before. But the scientists said more studies were needed to understand why.