We know a good walk can do wonders for your mental and physical health and now a new study has shown that picking up the pace on your gentle jaunt could actually help you to live for longer.
While so many of us focus on reaching our 10,000 steps a day, the speed at which we do it might be the key to extending our lives.
A brand new study by scientists in both Britain and Australia researched more than 50,000 walkers and concluded that those walking at an increased speed had improved hearth health and lived for longer. They also showed that a faster pace was linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and reduced mortality risk too.
The findings – which were published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine – conveyed that walking at an average pace was linked to a 20% risk reduction of all-cause death, compared with walking at a slow pace. Walking at a fast pace saw a risk reduction of 24%.
It’s even more important to up your pace if you’re 60 or over since that generation saw a 46% reduction in the risk of death from cardiovascular diseases from those walking at an average pace and a whopping 53% reduction for those walking at a fast pace.
“A fast pace is generally five to six kilometres per hour (just under 4 miles 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 said.
The study took into account many other factors including body mass index, sex and age and while researchers admit the study was complex, the findings are pretty straightforward.
“Separating the effect of one specific aspect of physical activity and understanding its potentially casual association with risk of premature death is complex,” 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.”
We are huge fans of walking at Lumity, not only is it known as a form of active meditation – meaning that your body is busy so your mind is free to sift through thoughts, it is also a wonderful way to practice mindfulness.
One of America’s top wellness experts Erika Bloom told us that she walks everywhere and the only other form of exercise that she does every week is Pilates classes.
Now the weather is starting to improve maybe it’s time to start incorporating a long walk into your day?