Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Why Fast Walkers May Live 15–20 Years Longer Than the Rest of Us

Researchers say a quick walking pace is a good cardiovascular workout, but it may also be an indicator of a person’s overall health.
Taking a brisk walk could increase your odds of living longer, and it doesn’t matter how much you weigh when you slip on your walking shoes, a new study suggests.

People who have a quicker walking pace lived longer than those who walked more slowly, according to researchers who monitored the walking habits and deaths of nearly 475,000 people, most of whom were in their 50s at the start of the study.

Brisk walking” was defined by researchers as walking at least 3 miles per hour, or 100 steps a minute.

However, walking pace was self-reported by participants, who were asked to indicate whether they walked at a “slow pace,” “steady/average pace,” or “brisk pace.”

Participants with brisk walking paces had longer life expectancies across all categories of BMI, according to the study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

“The survival is the same for fast walkers for a wide range of body mass index, from 20 to 40,” 

Dr. Francesco Zaccardi, a clinical epidemiologist at the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom and the study’s lead researcher, told HealthLine

This result indicates that physical function is a stronger determinant of longevity than body mass index, and also people with high body mass index but with a good fitness may survive longer,” he said.

Conversely, participants with slower walking paces had shorter life expectancies across all categories of BMI.

Researchers reported that women who walked more quickly had a life span of about 87 years compared to 72 years for women who walked slowly.

Men who walked quickly had a life span of about 86 years compared to 65 years for men who walked more slowly.

That’s a 15-year average difference for women and a 20-year average difference for men.

What this tells me is if you’re walking faster you’re doing a very low-intensity form of cardio, and if done on a regular basis, it will strengthen and condition your heart. 

So, whether you’re overweight or in shape, fast walking does have positive physical effects on your body and life expectancy,” Jamie Hickey, a certified personal trainer and nutritionist at Truism Fitness, told HealthLine.

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