Walking pace is associated with all-cause mortality risk.
Washington: Did you know! According to a study, walking faster could make you live longer.
The research, led by the University of Sydney, showed walking at an average pace was found to be associated with a 20 percent risk reduction for all-cause mortality compared with walking at a slow pace, while walking at a brisk or fast pace was associated with a risk reduction of 24 percent.
A similar result was found for risk of cardiovascular disease mortality, with a reduction of 24 percent walking at an average pace and 21 percent walking at a brisk or fast pace, compared to walking at a slow pace.
The protective effects of walking pace were also found to be more pronounced in older age groups. Average pace walkers aged 60 years or over experienced a 46 percent reduction in risk of death from cardiovascular causes, and fast pace walkers a 53 percent reduction.
"A fast pace is generally five to seven kilometres per hour, but it really depends on a walker's fitness levels; an alternative indicator is to walk at a pace that makes you slightly out of breath or sweaty when sustained," lead author Professor Emmanuel Stamatakis explained.
The researchers sought to determine the associations between walking pace with all-cause, cardiovascular disease and cancer mortality.
"Walking pace is associated with all-cause mortality risk, but its specific role - independent from the total physical activity a person undertakes - has received little attention until now," Professor Stamatakis said.
"While sex and body mass index did not appear to influence outcomes, walking at an average or fast pace was associated with a significantly reduced risk of all-cause mortality and cardiovascular disease. There was no evidence to suggest pace had a significant influence on cancer mortality however."
In light of the findings, the research team is calling for walking pace to be emphasised in public health messages.
"Separating the effect of one specific aspect of physical activity and understanding its potentially causal association with risk of premature death is complex," Professor Stamatakis said.
"Assuming our results reflect cause and effect, these analyses suggest that increasing walking pace may be a straightforward way for people to improve heart health and risk for premature mortality - providing a simple message for public health campaigns to promote.
"Especially in situations when walking more isn't possible due to time pressures or a less walking-friendly environment, walking faster may be a good option to get the heart rate up - one that most people can easily incorporate into their lives."
The study appears in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.