Walking At a Faster Pace Is Good For Your Heart

You are always told that exercises are good for your body, and in particular, the heart. But did you that these exercises do not just involve waking up early in the morning to hit the gym or making several runs across the neighborhood? Well, simple things such as walking quickly on your way to the grocery store could help you live longer. This is according to a study done by r. Emmanuel Stamatakis from Charles Perkins Center and School of Public Health at the University of Sydney.

“Walking pace is associated with all-cause mortality risk, but its specific role, apart from the overall physical activity a person may engage in, has been poorly studied in the past until now,” said the study’s lead author in a press release.

By taking the pace average walk as health experts have always recommended, the study noted that there was a 20% improvement in one’s health as opposed to slow pace walk. At an even faster pace, the improvement was 24%.

Benefits to Cardiovascular Health

Specific to one’s cardiovascular health, walking at an average pace meant that you had a 24% reduction in risk to die from heart disease. Slow pace reduced the risk by 21%.

The scientists could not spot any link between pace and cancer mortality rate.

So what is a fast pace? Stamatakis explains that a fast pace involves a walk of about 5 to 7 kilometers per hour, but the exact number is actually reliant on the fitness levels of the walker. One could alternatively measure the fast pace by walking at a speed that slightly made them out of breath or is sweaty after the sustained walk.

A sustained walk lasts for anything between 10 to 30 minutes.

Individuals aged 60 years and above recorded a 46% decrease in the risk of cardiovascular disease when they developed the tendency to walk at a faster pace.

How the Study was done

The study involved asking participants their walking pace. The researchers then picked this data and adjusted it on the basis of factors such as intensity of the involved activity and the total amount of time taken. Also included were body mass index, sex, and age of the participants.

“Whereas BMI and sex were not influential on the results obtained, walking at a fast or average pace was found to lower risks to cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality,” said Stamatakis.

Female sex, older age, and higher BMI scores were found by the researchers to record slower walking pace. These groups were seen to have high cases of psychological distress and long-standing illness.

The study concluded by recommending that public health messages must be created to motivate people to walk at an average or faster pace. It emphasizes that when you do not engage in other physical exercises such as walking for long distances or hitting the gym, simply speeding up your pace could be all that you need for a healthy heart.