-- Robert Preidt
THURSDAY, Oct. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Love may not only be blind
and make the heart beat faster, it might also make a man's feet
move more slowly, a new study finds.
Men only slowed their walking speed when they were ambling with
a female romantic partner -- not when they were with other
This being a scientific study, the researchers added that the
phenomenon might have evolutionary roots in an attempt by mobile
couples to help preserve the female's fertility.
The study, led by Cara Wall-Scheffler of Seattle Pacific
University, found that "males walk at a significantly slower pace
to match the females' paces when the female is their romantic
In a study involving 22 people, researchers assessed men's
walking speeds as they strolled around a track alone, with a woman
who was a romantic partner, or with friends of the same and
The result: men walked at a 7 percent slower pace with a woman
who they were romantically involved with.
There was no significant change in the men's pace when walking
with male or female friends, according to the study published Oct.
23 in the journal
The researchers noted that this phenomenon has been seen in
other species, where the energy needed to move is conserved -- in
part to help boost fertility. Humans have an "optimal" walking
speed that minimizes their energy output, and men tend to have a
faster walking speed than women.
So, when a man and woman walk together, one of them will have to
switch from their optimal speed and pay the price in energy output,
the researchers said.
In the human scenario, it seems that the man most often makes a
sacrifice, the study found. He will slow down to match her optimum
speed, so that the "female is spared the potentially increased
caloric cost of walking together." The energy the woman retains
might then "be allocated to reproduction," the researchers
Harvard Medical School explains the
health benefits of walking.
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