If you’re a natural plodder, now would probably be the time to nudge some energy in when commuting on foot. No one is forcing you to power-walk through your day to day or anything; but if you love life and wish to live it for as long as you naturally can, then you need to gee up!
That is because new studies by Leicester University suggest that regardless of respective body weights, fast walkers may live longer compared to people who are routinely sluggish in their walking.
Data on 474,919 people- over 50-years-old- in the UK Biobank between 2006 and 2016 were analyzed; and researchers arrived that whereas swift-walking women had a life expectancy of between 86.7 to 87.8 years old, relatively slow women averaged a life expectancy of 72.4 years old.
Men who walked briskly also chalked a life expectancy of 85.2 to 86.8, as against the 64.8 years of men who walked with slack pace.
The paper, which was published in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings last week, further clarified that the ratio remained consistent even if the fast walkers were extremely overweight.
Although the study only highlights a correlation and does not necessarily guarantee that fast walkers will live longer, experts believe that alongside other medical tests, walking pace could be a natural way through which doctors can assess their patients’ general well-being.
The study thus adds weight to earlier findings in 2011, where the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published a study by geriatric medicine professor, Stephanie Studenski, who found that ‘walking speed was a reliable predictor of life expectancy.’
Also, in 2013 researchers in the United States found ‘walking pace was linked to lower heart disease risk and longer life expectancy’ while Physical Activity professor at Leicester University, Tom Yates- also behind the latest study- has been publishing findings on this connection prior to this recent discovery.
Professor Yates analyzed the same UK Biobank data in 2017, and found that walking speed appeared to affect the risk of dying from heart disease – concluding that walking slowly did not offer much in the way of cardiovascular benefits, as slow walkers were twice as likely to suffer a heart-related death compared to brisk walkers.