I enjoy a leisurely walk around my neighborhood or on one of our local trails as much as anyone, but recent research indicates that walking at an average pace was associated with a 20% risk reduction for all-cause mortality compared with walking at a slow pace. Walking at a brisk or fast pace reduced the risk by 24%. Similar risk reduction carried over to cardiovascular health. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, exercise like brisk walking can help reduce the risk of breast cancer among women of all ages.
The researchers adjusted for factors such as total amount and intensity of all physical activity, age, sex and body mass index and found that sex and body mass index did not appear to influence outcomes. However, walking at an average or fast pace was associated with a significantly reduced risk of all-cause mortality and cardiovascular disease.
It seems something as simple as speeding up your walking pace could extend your life. We’ve been told to focus on how many steps we are logging a day, but perhaps our focus should be on how fast, not the number of steps.
What’s even more exciting is that these research results were even more pronounced in people 60 and over. Walking is a form of exercise that is available to almost everyone, whether you walk on a treadmill at home or in a gym or out on the street or on trails.
Even if you can’t do other forms of “exercise” most people can get active by walking, even if it is just around the house as my 89 year old dad used to do just to get the blood flowing. This is why it is my suggested way to get moving in my Today’s the Day plan.
There may be times or situations when there isn’t time to walk longer or there isn’t a safe place for a long walk, but you can always pick up the pace and know that you are improving your quality and length of life.
Would you be willing to just pick up the pace during your walks knowing it can lengthen your life?
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