Safe Step To Take 2/2

Young and healthy as you are, you may look worried at your grandfather when he announces to take a stroll in the forest. So many branches and roots to trip over…

Does he, at his age, still know how risky different steps are? My previous blog, ‘Safe Steps To Take’, told you that elderly indeed don’t always know how risky different steps are. You’d know so much better…. Do you really?

You probably don’t. At the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Nick Kluft investigates whether there are differences between the walking ability of seniors and how they think about their walking ability. In other words: whether true ability is up to date with perceived ability.

Nick for instance tests perceived ability by the width where people dare to cross a tapered river. He tests true ability by letting people take steps of increasing size, until they loose balance. Off course, participants in his experiment wore a safety harness.

Perceived and true ability differed just as much for healthy students and elderly participants! Off course healthy students could take bigger steps.

So don’t hesitate to warn your grandfather when he is about to take a risky walk. But do remember that you are probably no smarter than him in estimating which hurdles you can take without loosing balance.

Read more about Nick’s experiment in my previous blog Safe Steps To Take.

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