Speeding up your step, even slightly, can render significant health benefits. Walking at an average or fast pace is associated with a reduced risk of all-cause mortality — a term that reflects life expectancy — as well as of cardiovascular disease. Walking pace does not appear to affect cancer mortality, however.
Researchers from Sydney, Australia, Great Britain, Scotland, and Ireland collaborated on research published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. They used mortality records from 11 population-based surveys taken between 1994 and 2008. Participants self-reported their walking pace. The scientists noted that sex and body mass index (BMI) had no effect on results.
Walking at an average pace resulted in a 20 percent risk reduction for all-cause mortality, compared with walking at a slow pace. Speeding things up to a brisk or fast pace yielded a risk reduction of 24 percent. Risk of cardiovascular disease mortality saw a reduction of 24 percent when walking at an average pace, while walking at a brisk or fast pace yielded a slightly lower number, a 21 percent reduction. The goal is to be slightly out of breath or sweaty with sustained pace. The research provides positive and actionable implications for public health, the authors said.
Stephanie Stephens is a digital journalist, host and producer focused on health and lifestyle. Steph does audio and video and has shot a TV pilot for the powerful age 45+ demo. She’s an accomplished red carpet host, having interviewed more than 250 celebrities. When she’s not working (when is that?), she’s working out doing HIIT, strength training, yoga or running. Steph is very involved in humane causes in Southern California and is owned by seven cats. Join her on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Google+.