Jul 22, 2019 | Updated: 09:15 AM EDT

New Study Links Brisk Walking to Longevity

Jul 11, 2019 07:59 AM EDT

busy pedestrian
(Photo: Brian Merrill)

Walking has a huge impact on humankind in general. One reason is that it has always been a dependable transportation method since the beginning of time. Even now, when mechanical methods of transportation are available, there are still some of the preferred walkings, especially when the distance would only cover a short moderately long walk.  Another reason is that for some people, walking is a form of exercise where the activity is to be done regularly and is a part of a daily routine. While exercising, in general, has a positive impact on the human body, walking as part of a person's daily life is revealed to also tip the scales towards a healthier lifestyle that largely affects longevity.

In the UK, data from nearly 475,000 people were collected by researchers as they measured factors like walking habits, waist circumference, body mass index (BMI), and body fat percentage.

The data on walking pace were reported by the study participants when they were asked to describe their usual walking pace. According to the study, there are three kinds of walking paces, namely "slow pace," "average or steady pace" and there is also "brisk pace." The latter pertains to a speed of three miles per hour. This classification for pace speed is set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The study has revealed that people with the brisk walking pace exhibited longer lives across all levels of BMI. Meanwhile, study participants who had a slow walking place had a shorter life expectancy. 

According to the study, fast-walking women had a life span of about 87 years, while those who walk at a slow pace only had an average lifespan of 72 years. With the same pattern of results, men walking at a brisk pace were revealed to have a lifespan of about 86 years and only 65 years for those who walked at a slower pace. The authors of the study noted that there is the same pattern found for measurements of waist circumference and body fat percentage.

The UK Biobank observational study authors stated that risk walkers generally exhibited longer life expectancy.

Tom Yates, a professor of physical activity, sedentary behavior and health at the University of Leicester, stated that their findings could help clarify the relative importance of physical fitness compared to body weight and life expectancy of individuals. The professor explained that the findings suggest physical fitness is a better indicator of life expectancy than body mass index. Yates is encouraging the population to engage in brisk walking activities as their study shows a link between the activity and a longer life expectancy

The study was published in June 2019 in the mayo clinic proceedings.

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