Moderate Coffee, Alcohol Habits Linked to Better Gait in Older Adults Than Teetotalers, Study Says
Older adults who drink both coffee and booze tend to have a better gait — or manner of walking — than those who do not, suggests new research that used data from the Rotterdam Study, originally designed to examine a wide range of diseases.
Between 2009 and 2012, researchers performed assessments of gait — with considerations of gait velocity and “gait domains” including rhythm, pace, base of support, variability, phases, tandem, and turning — on 2,546 subjects. Approximately 82 percent of participants drank alcohol and 92 percent drank coffee.
The study, published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that moderate alcohol consumption — between one and three drinks a day — was linked to better gait scores (velocity, rhythm, and variability). Drinking more than three cups of coffee a day was also associated with improved gait.
Smokers, meanwhile, had poorer gait than non-smokers.
However, Dr. M. Arfan Ikram, the paper’s co-author, cautioned that the data was not meant to suggest that coffee, alcohol, or tobacco were responsible for the differences in gait.
“Further research will be needed to disentangle whether this effect is caused by alcohol, coffee, or smoking per se, or is actually reflecting other aspects that are linked with these substances, such as socioeconomic status, lifestyle, working life, et. cetera,” Ikram told Reuters over email.