– EN Fitness & Wellbeing – Fast walkers could be on the path to adding an extra 15 years to their life, compared to their dawdling counterparts.
In a new study from Leicester University, a team of experts reviewed data on 474,919 people with an average age of 52.
Results showed that women who walked with a spring in their step had a life expectancy of 86.7 to 87.8 years old, while brisk male walkers had a life expectancy of 85.2 to 86.8.
The slow walkers had a much shorter life expectancy though; women reaching 72.4, and men living to 64.8 years old.
“Our findings could help clarify the relative importance of physical fitness compared to body weight on life expectancy of individuals,” said Tom Yates, Leicester University’s physical activity professor.
“Studies published so far have mainly shown the impact of body weight and physical fitness on mortality in terms of relative risk,” added co-author Francesco Zaccardi. “However, it is not always easy to interpret a ‘relative risk’. Reporting in terms of life expectancy, conversely, is easier to interpret and gives a better idea of the separate and joint importance of body mass index and physical fitness.”
Although findings don’t prove that fast walkers will live longer, they simply show a correlation between walking speed and life expectancy, the team suggest their study could be a way for doctors to judge their patients’ general health.
Results have been published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings journal, and back up previous research on the subject.