How quick you walk could predict your risk of dying from heart disease, a major new study suggests.
Healthy adults who walk slowly are twice as likely to succumb to the world’s leading killer, scientists have found.
It is believed those who stroll quicker exercise more, implying they are physically fitter and protected against high blood pressure, obesity and inactivity – three known causes of the disease.
The research, led by Leicester University, was based on data from 420,727 people.
Healthy adults who walk slowly are twice as likely to succumb to the world’s leading killer, scientists have found
Lead author Professor Tom Yates said: ‘Slow walkers were around twice as likely to have a heart-related death compared to brisk walkers.
‘This suggests that habitual walking pace is an independent predictor of heart-related death.’
The findings applied to both men and women and remained true after adjusting for several risk factors, including smoking, BMI and diet.
How was the study carried out?
Published in the European Heart Journal, the study followed the participants over a period of six years to assess death rates.
After looking at death certificates of the UK Biobank study over the time frame, 1,654 deaths from heart disease occurred.
Those who were reported as being slow walkers were found to be between 1.8 and 2.4 times more likely to die of heart disease during the period.
MARRIAGE PREVENTS HEART DISEASE DEATH
Marriage prevents death from heart disease, research revealed earlier this week.
Married people are 14 per cent more likely to survive a heart attack than those who are single, the study found.
This is thought to be due to spouses nagging each other to live a healthy lifestyle, Aston University, Birmingham, scientists said.
Husbands and wives can also be relied upon to remind the other to take their medication and generally help them to cope with their condition.
Lead author Dr Paul Carter said: ‘Marriage, and having a spouse at home, is likely to offer emotional and physical support on a number of levels’.
Adults with low BMIs had the highest risk from walking slowly, the team of British researchers discovered.
Why does the link exist?
They also found walking pace was strongly linked to exercise tolerance, suggesting walking pace is a good measure of overall fitness.
Professor Yates added: ‘Self-reported walking pace could be used to identify individuals who have low physical fitness and high mortality risk.’
He said these patients would benefit from targeted physical exercise interventions to slash their risk of dying.
Results did not show a link between walking pace and the risk of dying from cancer, which was also measured.
The study, of data collected between 2006 and 2010, was supported by Leicester’s hospitals and Loughborough University.
How deadly is heart disease?
Heart disease, often caused by high blood pressure, high cholesterol and being obese, killed 8.76 million people across the world in 2015. It remains the leading cause of death in the US, and second only to dementia in the UK.
The new findings come after some of the world’s leading cardiovascular scientists attended a conference in Barcelona to document some of their latest findings.
Among the studies presented at the European Society of Cardiology congress was a landmark four-year trial of a drug hailed as the biggest breakthrough since statins.
Scientists also found that married people are 14 per cent more likely to survive a heart attack than those who are single.
People who toss and turn at night are twice as likely to suffer a heart attack, a separate study suggested.
And arthritis sufferers were warned against taking ibuprofen to dampen their pain because of the drug’s links to heart disease.