Walking Faster Could Make You Live Longer: Research

Source: University of Sydney

Summary: A new research study suggests that speeding up your walking pace could extend your life.

Walking at an average pace was found to be associated with a 20% risk reduction for all-cause mortality compared with walking at a slow pace, while walking at a brisk or fast pace was associated with a risk reduction of 24%. A similar result was found for risk of cardiovascular disease mortality, with a reduction of 24% walking at an average pace and 21% walking at a brisk or fast pace, compared to walking at a slow pace. The protective effects of walking pace were also found to be more pronounced in older age groups. Average pace walkers aged 60 years or over experienced a 46 % reduction in risk of death from cardiovascular causes, and fast pace walkers a 53 % reduction. A study led by the researchers from the University of Sydney suggested that speeding up your walking pace could extend your life. The study findings were published in the journal British Journal of Sports Medicine.

Walk faster live longer

Credit: CC0 Public Domain

The researchers sought to determine the associations between walking pace with all-cause, cardiovascular disease and cancer mortality. Linking mortality records with the results of 11 population-based surveys in England and Scotland between 1994 and 2008 in which participants self-reported their walking pace the research team then adjusted for factors such as total amount and intensity of all physical activity taken, age, sex and body mass index. In light of the findings, the research team is calling for walking pace to be emphasized in public health messages. Assuming the results reflect cause and effect, these analyses suggest that increasing walking pace may be a straightforward way for people to improve heart health and risk for premature mortality.

Prof. Stamatakis said, “Walking pace is associated with all-cause mortality risk, but its specific role independent from the total physical activity a person undertakes has received little attention until now.”

More Information: Emmanuel Stamatakis et al, “Self-rated walking pace and all-cause, cardiovascular disease and cancer mortality: individual participant pooled analysis of 50 225 walkers from 11 population British cohorts”, British Journal of Sports Medicine (2018). DOI: 10.1136/bjsports-2017-098677 

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