Health Walking faster could keep you a step ahead of death

Walking faster could keep you a step ahead of death

If you like to hot step it then here’s some welcome news.

Walking faster could help you keep a step ahead of death from disease and live a longer life.

That’s the finding from researchers at The University of Sydney.

The study of more than 50,000 walkers over 14 years found a faster pace was linked to lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease, as well as reduced mortality risk from other diseases.

Walking at an average pace was associated with a 20 per cent reduction in risk of death from disease when compared to walking slow. That jumped to 24 per cent when people walked at a fast pace.

When it comes to cardiovascular disease, average paced walkers reduced risk of death by 24 per cent compared to slow walkers. Fast-paced walkers saw a drop of 21 per cent in risk.

And the older you are, the bigger the strides.

Average pace walkers aged 60 years or over had a 46 per cent reduction in risk of death from cardiovascular causes, and fast-paced walkers a 53 percent reduction.

The study was led by USyd’s Professor Emmanuel Stamatakis.

“A fast pace is generally five to six 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,” says Professor Stamatakis.

The research team is calling for public health organisations to get on the front foot and make walking pace a key message to older Australians.

“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,” says Professor Stamatakis.

“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.”

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