Irrespective of obesity status, or even body weight, individuals that walk fast live longer than their slower paced companions. This finding comes from a new paper published in the Mayo Clinic Journal of Mayo Clinic, titled, Comparative Relevance of Physical Fitness and Adiposity on Life Expectancy. The authors report, “participants reporting brisk walking pace had longer life expectancies across all levels of BMIs, ranging from 86.7 to 87.8 years in women and 85.2 to 86.8 years in men. Conversely, subjects reporting slow walking pace had shorter life expectancies, being the lowest observed in slow walkers with a BMI less than 20 kg/m2 (women: 72.4 years; men: 64.8 years).”
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The researchers began with a study sample of data from 474, 919 participants, recorded between March 13, 2006, and January 31, 2016. In addition to surveying the participants’ walking pace, the researchers also examined their body mass index, their waist circumference, and their body fat percentage.
The study defined a “brisk walk” as a pace that hits speeds of 3 mph, or 100 steps per minute. “Slow walkers” referred to individuals that hit speeds, between 1 to 2 mph, or 50 steps per minute. Across different levels and indices of adiposity, the first group, or the “brisk walkers” evidenced a longer life expectancy. The fact the results remained unchanged regardless of body weight index means physical fitness might be a better tell for life expectancy than BMI. Adding to this revelation, the researchers observed underweight slow workers to express the lowest life expectancy of all the individuals examined.
“This is in contrast to assumption that is often made that obesity confers the most risk,” Professor Tom Yates, the study’s lead author, commented to Newsweek.
Just last year, Yates and his team of researchers uncovered similar findings in a much more specific study group. This particular report showed that middle age men that walked slowly, increased their risk for heart-related illnesses.
The findings from both this year and last year’s study, join many others published in recent years, that accentuate the importance of habitual activity.
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