Are you a fast walker? If not, you might want to think about picking up your pace as much as possible, as new research has revealed that those who walk faster tend to live longer lives.
The study, published in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings, suggests that regardless of your body weight, those who walk fast are not only healthier but live longer too. In fact, they tend to live a whopping 20 years longer on average than those who have a slow walking pace.
The researchers studied 474,919 people to conduct the project and conclude their results. They found that fast walkers hit speeds of 3mph which equates to about 100 steps a minute, while slow walkers only reach between 1mph and 2mph or just 50 steps a minute.
The study’s lead author Professor Tom Yates, of the University of Leicester, told Newsweek: ‘The findings suggest that perhaps physical fitness is a better indicator of life expectancy than body mass index. Encouraging the population to engage in brisk walking may add years to their lives.’
He added: ‘While there are likely to be multiple factors contributing to the strength of our findings, it is well established that increasing your fitness is one of the best things you can do for your health. Increasing your walking pace in everyday life is a good way to increase fitness levels, particularly in those who are slow walker.’
One of the major health benefits of walking fast is that it increases your heart rate, which can then help lower your blood pressure. In 2018, Professor Yates highlighted in a separate study that middle-aged slow walkers were at higher risk of heart- related disease. His research revealed that they were actually twice as likely as fast walkers to have a heart-related death, no matter what their body type, BMI and smoking habits may be.