walking faster help you live longe

Will walking faster help you live longer?

Diseases, Fitness

International health guidelines recommend at least 150 minutes of aerobic exercise per week. Walking is a good way to do that, but what about walking speed? Is it important? Here are two research studies that summarize what is known about walking speed and health.

Walking speed and longevity

A study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association that correlated how fast a person walked with how long they would live. This study surprised many, because it gave such a simple measure of longevity. It showed that a person who walked faster was likely to live significantly longer than a slow-walking person.

The researchers emphasized that, while some slow older walkers could live a long time, in general, slower walkers died earlier. The researchers analyzed survival data on 34,485 men and women aged 65 or older to reach their conclusions.

They found that simply by knowing an older person’s normal walking speed, their age, and gender, they could predict their longevity. Walking speed proved to be as good a predictor of longevity as knowing if the person was a smoker, or had chronic diseases, or was obese.

Walking speeds and longevity

The researchers found that a person aged 65 or older would likely have a normal longevity if they walked 2.88 km in an hour. If they walked slower—reaching 2.16 km in an hour—they had a reduced longevity. And those who walked faster, 3.60 km in an hour, would have a longer lifespan than average. The fastest walkers—4.32 km/ hour or faster—were likely to have “exceptional” longevity.

Why walking correlates with longevity

Walking may seem like a simple process, but actually it involves multiple organ systems working well together. To walk fast, you need good: circulation, respiration, muscular and skeletal systems and nervous system. A person needs to be able to balance himself and have relatively quick brain functioning.

The new research

Just this year, researchers from Australia and the UK published a similar large research study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. After analyzing survival data of over 50,000 walkers over a nine-year period, they found: people who walked at least at average speed had a 20% better chance of survival during the nine-year study compared with people who were slow walkers.

They also concluded that fast walkers had a 25% better chance of survival than slow walkers. And these researchers took the extra step by stating that by walking faster, a person could probably live longer.

The big question

This last point—that walking faster will help you live longer—is still controversial. It may be that people walk slow because their organ systems are not in good shape, and walking faster might not help that. More research is needed to settle the controversy. In the meantime, you might try to walk faster. It will get your heart beating faster, and more blood pumping to your heart muscle and brain, all of which is good. And when the controversy is settled, we will let you know here!

To find a doctor, of any specialty, anywhere in Brazil, check out our website: www.Procuramed.com.

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Esta postagem também está disponível em: Portuguese (Brazil)

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