Do you walk fast? If so, there’s good news for you! Brisk walkers have a longer life expectancy than slower walkers, according to a recent study published by the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings.
The study from May 9 found that participants who reported having a brisk walking pace had longer life expectancies across all levels of BMI, ranging from 86.7 to 87.8 years in women and 85.2 to 86.8 years in men. Those that reported they were slower walkers had shorter life expectancies — 72.4 years for women and 64.8 years for men.
The research, done by scientists from the University of Leicester, included data from 474,919 people who were part of a U.K. Biobank cohort of middle-aged adults recruited between March 2006 and July 2010. It used information collected from deaths within the cohort that took place through January 31, 2016. Members of the participant pool were on average 58.2 years old with a BMI of 26.7, putting them in the overweight category. These people rated their walking pace as either slow, steady/average or brisk.
The team of researchers said that they opted to estimate using walking pace because it is a “good measure of general fitness and overall physical function,” Tom Yates, a lead author of the study and professor of physical activity, sedentary behavior and health at the University of Leicester, told Newsweek.
Interestingly, the study also found that the lowest life expectancy of the categories was seen in those who were underweight with a slow walking pace.
“This is in contrast to [the] assumption that is often made that obesity confers the most risk,” Yates said in Newsweek. “In fact, many other studies have also reported an elevated risk of mortality in those who are underweight, although ours is the first to investigate this in relation to walking pace.”Photo by AaronLMGoodwin
Yates also offered a suggestion on how to improve your health: “Increasing your walking pace in everyday life is a good way to increase fitness levels, particularly in those who are slow walkers,” he said.
If you’re looking to get some good exercise, maybe it’s time to go for a brisk walk! It might just help you live longer.