Summary: Researchers report walking at a brisk speed can help to increase your lifespan. The study reveals walking at a normal speed is associated with a 20% reduction for all cause mortality, and brisk walking reduced risks by 24%.
Source: University of Sydney.
Speeding up your walking pace could extend your life, research led by the University of Sydney suggests.
Walking at an average pace was found to be associated with a 20 percent risk reduction for all-cause mortality compared with walking at a slow pace, while walking at a brisk or fast pace was associated with a risk reduction of 24 percent. A similar result was found for risk of cardiovascular disease mortality, with a reduction of 24 percent walking at an average pace and 21 percent walking at a brisk or fast pace, compared to walking at a slow pace.
The protective effects of walking pace were also found to be more pronounced in older age groups. Average pace walkers aged 60 years or over experienced a 46 percent reduction in risk of death from cardiovascular causes, and fast pace walkers a 53 percent reduction.
Published today, the findings appear in a special issue of the British Journal of Sports Medicine dedicated to Walking and Health, edited by lead author Professor Emmanuel Stamatakis from the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre and School of Public Health.
“A fast pace is generally five to seven 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,” Professor Stamatakis explained.
A collaboration between the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre and Faculty of Medicine and Health, the University of Cambridge, University of Edinburgh, University of Limerick and University of Ulster, the researchers sought to determine the associations between walking pace with all-cause, cardiovascular disease and cancer mortality.
Linking mortality records with the results of 11 population-based surveys in England and Scotland between 1994 and 2008 – in which participants self-reported their walking pace – the research team then adjusted for factors such as total amount and intensity of all physical activity taken, age, sex and body mass index.
“Walking pace is associated with all-cause mortality risk, but its specific role – independent from the total physical activity a person undertakes – has received little attention until now,” Professor Stamatakis said.
“While sex and body mass index did not appear to influence outcomes, walking at an average or fast pace was associated with a significantly reduced risk of all-cause mortality and cardiovascular disease. There was no evidence to suggest pace had a significant influence on cancer mortality however.”
In light of the findings, the research team is calling for walking pace to be emphasised in public health messages.
“Separating the effect of one specific aspect of physical activity and understanding its potentially causal association with risk of premature death is complex,” Professor 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.”
Source: Rachel Fergus – University of Sydney
Publisher: Organized by NeuroscienceNews.com.
Image Source: NeuroscienceNews.com image is in the public domain.
Original Research: Open access research for “Self-rated walking pace and all-cause, cardiovascular disease and cancer mortality: individual participant pooled analysis of 50 225 walkers from 11 population British cohorts” by Emmanuel Stamatakis, Paul Kelly, Tessa Strain, Elaine M Murtagh, Ding Ding, and Marie H Murphy in British Journal of Sports Medicine. Published June 1 2018.
Self-rated walking pace and all-cause, cardiovascular disease and cancer mortality: individual participant pooled analysis of 50 225 walkers from 11 population British cohorts
Background/objectives Walking pace is associated with risk of premature mortality. However, whether this relationship is independent of total volume of physical activity and highest physical activity intensity remains unclear. We examined the associations between walking pace and cause-specific mortality, investigating the potential modifying effect of factors such as total physical activity volume, highest physical activity intensity, age, sex and body mass index (BMI).
Methods Prospective pooled analysis of 11 population-based baseline surveys in England and Scotland between 1994 and2008 that were linked with mortality records. Multivariate-adjusted Cox proportional hazards models examined associations between walking pace (slow, average, brisk/fast) and all-cause, cancer and cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality.
Results 50 225 walkers were entered in the core analyses. Among participants who did not experience an event in the first 2 years of follow-up (n=49 731), walking at an average or brisk/fast pace was associated with a reduced risk of all-cause (20% (95% CI 12% to 28%) and 24% (95% CI 13% to 33%), respectively) and CVD mortality (24% (95% CI 9% to 36%) and 21% (95% CI 1% to 38%), respectively), compared with reporting walking at a slow pace. In stratified analyses, such associations were evident among those over 50 years, those not meeting the physical activity recommendations and those who did not undertake vigorous-intensity activity. There were no interactions by sex or BMI. No associations were seen between pace and cancer mortality.
Conclusion Walking benefits health. Assuming causality, these analyses suggest that increasing walking pace could reduce risk for all-cause and CVD mortality. Walking pace could be emphasised in public health messages, especially in situations when increase in walking volume or frequency is less feasible.