Faster You Walk, The Better For Long-Term Health – Especially As You Age: Some of us like to stroll along and smell the roses, while others march to their destination as quickly as their feet will carry them. A new study out today has found those who report faster walking have the lower risk of premature death.
Faster You Walk, The Better For Long-Term Health – Especially As You Age
We have studied just over 50,000 walkers over 30 years of age who lived in Britain between the years 1994 to 2008. We collected data on these walkers, including how quickly they think they walk, and we then looked at their health outcomes after controlling to make sure the results were not due to poor health or other habits such as smoking and exercise.
We found any pace above slow reduced the risk of dying from the cardiovascular diseases, such as heart disease or stroke.
Compared to slow walkers, average pace walkers had a 20% lower chance of the early death from any cause, and a 24% lower risk of destruction from the heart disease or stroke.
Those who are reporting to walking at a brisk or fast pace had a 24% lower risk of early death from any cause and a 21% lower risk of the departure from cardiovascular reasons.
We have also found the beneficial effects of fast walking were more pronounced in the older age groups. For example, average pace walkers aged 60 years or over experienced a 46% reduction in risk of death from the cardiovascular causes, and fast walkers experience a 53% reduction.
Comparatively to slow walkers, brisk or fast walkers aged between 45 to 59 had 36% lower risk of the early death from any reason.
In the old age group but not in the whole sample or, the younger age groups, we also found there was a linearly higher reduction in the risk of early death that has more elevated apace.
What does it all means
Our results suggesting that walking at an average, brisk or fast speed may be beneficial for the long-term health and longevity compared to slow walking, particularly for the older peoples.
But we also need to mindful our study which was observational, and we did not have full control of all likely influences to be able to establish it was the walking alone is cause the beneficial health effects.
For example, it can be that the least healthy people who report slowing walking pace as a result of the poor health, and also end up to dye earlier for the same reason.
To low the chances of this reverse causality, we excluding all those who had heart disease had experienced a stroke or had cancer when the study starts, as well as those who died in the first two years of the follow-up.
Another important point is that the participants in our study self-reporting their usual pace, which means the responses were about perceived speed.
There are no established standards for what “slow”, “average” or “brisk” walking means a concerning speed. What is perceived as “fast” walking pace by a very sedentary and physically unfit 70-year-old will be very different from a sporty and fit 45-year-old.
For this reason, our results could interpret as reflects relatively to one’s physical capacity intensity of the walking. That is, the higher is the physical exertion while walking, is the excellent health result.
For the general relatively healthy middle-aged population, a walking speed of between 6 and 7.5 km/h will be fast, and if sustained, it will make most people slightly out of breath.
A walking speed of at-least 100 steps per minute is found roughly equivalent to the moderate intensity of the physical activity.
We all know walking is an excellent activity for the health, accessible to most people of all ages. Our findings suggest it is a good idea to step up to a pace that will challenge our physiology and may even make walking more of a workout.
Extended term-health benefits aside, a faster pace will get us to our destination faster and free up time for all those other things that can make our daily routines unique, such as spending time with loved ones or reading a good book.
So, these are the points to describe the faster you walk, the better for long-term health – especially as you age.
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