Normal walking speed: a descriptive meta-analysis



Walking speed has implications for community functioning and is predictive of important outcomes. Determining whether an individual's walking speed is limited requires normal values for comparison.


To use meta-analysis to describe normal gait speed for healthy individuals within age and gender strata.

Data sources

PubMed, the Cumulative Index of Nursing and Allied Health (CINAHL), Scopus, Science Citation Index and articles identified by hand searches.

Study selection criteria

Inclusion required that the gait speed of apparently healthy adults was documented as they walked at a normal pace over a course of 3 to 30 m. Summary data were excluded unless obtained from at least 10 participants within a gender and decade stratum.

Study appraisal and synthesis methods

The two authors independently reviewed articles and extracted data. Accuracy was confirmed by the other author. Data were grouped within gender and decade strata. A meta-analysis macro was used to consolidate data by strata and to determine homogeneity.


Forty-one articles contributed data to the analysis. Combined, they provided data from 23111 subjects. The gait speed was homogeneous within strata and ranged from a mean of 143.4cm/second for men aged 40 to 49 years to a mean of 94.3cm/second for women aged 80 to 99 years.


The data presented herein may not be useful as a standard of normal if gait is measured over short distances from the command ‘go’ or if a turn is involved.

Conclusions and implications

The consolidation of data from multiple studies reported in this meta-analysis provides normative data that can serve as a standard against which individuals can be compared. Doing so will aid the interpretation of their performance.


Normal walking speed: a descriptive meta-analysis
Richard W. Bohannon, A. Williams Andrews
Physiotherapy 1 September 2011 (volume 97 issue 3 Pages 182-189 DOI: 10.1016/