My parents were notoriously fast walkers. I remember once barely being able to keep with them on my little 8-year-old legs while walking through the city. It was tough at the time, but now I am quite glad for it has trained me to be a very fast walker as an adult. One who will even walk into the street if there are too many people meandering down the sidewalk — which is pretty common in tourism-heavy New York City.
Well, I may risk getting hit by a car but I will probably live a little longer as a new study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that people who walk faster have a 20% lower mortality risk compared to slower walkers.
Fast walkers for the win
The study used data from the Health Survey for England and the Scottish Health Survey which provided them with the walking speeds (self-reported slow, average, fairly brisk or fast) of 50,000 English and Scottish adults.
The researchers observed the subjects for nine years. It found that among participants who did not experience a health event in the first two years of follow-up walking at an average or brisk/fast pace was associated with a reduced risk of both all-cause and CVD (Cardiovascular Disease) mortality, compared with reporting walking at a slow pace.
Now the study cannot definitively state that walking faster makes you healthier and there was no evidence of faster walkers having a reduced cancer mortality rate but the simple exercise of just walking at a brisker pace just helps you become an overall healthier person, especially when it comes to cardiovascular health. So in other words, try walking a little faster on your commute today.