Fast walkers could live 15 years longer than dawdlers, study claims

Underweight individuals with a slow walking pace has the lowest life expectancy

Underweight individuals with a slow walking pace has the lowest life expectancy

According to the new study, these statistics even apply to fast walkers who are severely overweight.

Researchers at Leicester University analyzed data on 474,919 people with an average age of 52 in the UK Biobank between 2006 and 2016.

A new study finds a significant difference in life expectancy correlated to walking speed, across all levels of BMIs.

They found women who walked briskly had a life expectancy of 86.7 to 87.8 years old, and men who kept up the pace had a life expectancy of 85.2 to 86.8.

It does not mean fast walkers will live longer - the report only proves a correlation, not a cause-and-effect - but experts say it suggests walking speed could be a crude way for doctors to judge their patients' general health alongside other tests. But here's the catch: Participants reporting brisk walking pace had longer life expectancies across all levels of BMIs.

The study, conducted by researchers at the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Leicester Biomedical Research Centre, is the first to associate a brisk walking pace with a longer life expectancy regardless of a person's body weight.

Slow walkers, on the other hand, had a life expectancy of 72.4 for women and 64.8 for men. "Increasing your walking pace in everyday life is a good way to increase fitness levels, particularly in those who are slow walkers", said Yates.

But more research must be done to look at whether the "high-risk" slowest paced low BMI group could improve their life expectancies by boosting their fitness, and whether walking pace could predict an individual's risk of disease, the authors noted.

Interestingly, the findings are unrelated to weight.

Dr Francesco Zaccardi, co-author of the study, said, "Studies published so far have mainly shown the impact of body weight and physical fitness on mortality in terms of relative risk, for example, a 20 per cent relative increase of risk of death for every 5 kilograms per metres squared increase, compared to a reference value of a BMI of 25 kilograms per metres squared (the threshold BMI between normal weight and overweight)". "Relative estimates, though, are hard to interpret", he said.

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