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Washington: You may have to take care of yourself from early in life as middle-aged people who reported that they are slow walkers are twice as likely to have heart-related deaths compared to the general population, reports a study.
Slow walkers were around twice as likely to have a heart-related death compared to brisk walkers. This finding was seen in both men and women and was not explained by related risk factors such as smoking, body mass index, diet or how much television the participants in the sample watched.
Principal Investigator Tom Yates from the University of Leicester said that the study was interested in the links between whether someone said they walked at a slow, steady or brisk pace and whether that could predict their risk of dying from heart disease or cancer in the future.
The data analysed 420,727 people in the research because they were free from cancer and heart disease at the time of collecting their information. In the following 6.3 years, almost 8,598 died with the sample population being studied: 1,654 from cardiovascular disease and 4,850 from cancer. This suggested that habitual walking pace is an independent predictor of heart-related death.
They also found that self-reported walking pace was strongly linked to an individual's objectively measured exercise tolerance, further suggesting that walking pace is a good measure of overall physical fitness. Therefore, self-reported walking pace could be used to identify individuals, who have low physical fitness and high mortality risk that would benefit from targeted physical exercise interventions.
The research team also analysed actual handgrip strength as measured by a dynamometer to see if it was a good predictor of cancer or heart-related deaths. Handgrip strength appeared to be only a weak predictor of heart-related deaths in men and could not be generalised across the population as a whole.
The study is published in the European Heart Journal.