News, Culture & Society

How walking faster really WILL improve your heart health and help you live longer, study finds 

Older people who walk at a brisk pace are half as likely to die from a heart attack or stroke as those who dawdle, according to a study.

For all walkers aged 30 and over, a fast or average speed – 3mph – cut the risk of death from any cause by more than 20 per cent over a 15-year period, researchers found.

The likelihood of dying specifically from a stroke or heart attack among all participants fell by a similar percentage.

Older people who walk at a brisk pace are half as likely to die from a heart attack or stroke as those who dawdle, according to a study

Although walking faster improved heart health among people of all ages, it had the greatest effect among the over-60s.

Those who reached 3-4.3mph were 53 per cent less likely to die from a heart attack or stroke than slower movers, the study found.

The Australian and British team said the study showed walking faster really does help people live longer.

Lead author Professor Emmanuel Stamatakis, of the University of Sydney, said: ‘A fast pace is generally five to seven kilometres per hour (3 to 4.35mph), 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.’

The study, which appears in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, sought to determine any links between a slow walking pace and death from cardiovascular disease, cancer or any other cause.

Researchers compared mortality records with 11 population-based surveys in England and Scotland from 1994 to 2008, in which around 50,000 people recorded their walking pace. The study then took into account factors such as total physical activity, age, sex and BMI (body mass index).

Lead author Professor Emmanuel Stamatakis, of the University of Sydney, said: ‘A fast pace is generally five to seven kilometres per hour (3 to 4.35mph), but it really depends on a walker’s fitness levels'

Lead author Professor Emmanuel Stamatakis, of the University of Sydney, said: ‘A fast pace is generally five to seven kilometres per hour (3 to 4.35mph), but it really depends on a walker’s fitness levels’

Now researchers are calling for more health campaigns to emphasise the benefits of a fast walking pace. Professor Stamatakis said: ‘Separating the effect of one specific aspect of physical activity and understanding its potentially causal association with risk of premature death is complex.

‘Assuming our results reflect cause and effect, these analyses suggest increasing walking pace may be a straightforward way to improve heart health and risk for premature mortality – a simple message for public health campaigns to promote.’

The study backs up recent analysis of 420,000 participants from the UK Biobank which found significant links between a higher walking pace and a reduced risk of death from causes including cardiovascular disease.

Last year Public Health England urged middle-aged people to walk faster to stay healthy. It said a regular, brisk ten-minute walk a day could reduce the risk of early death by 15 per cent. However, PHE estimated four in ten 40 to 60-year-olds do not even manage one such walk a month.



Read more at DailyMail.co.uk