Posted on Jun 08, 2018, 12 a.m.
An increased walking pace is associated with reduced mortality risk, researchers from the University of Sydney call for walking pace to be emphasized in public health messages after analysis of more than 50,000 walkers finds faster pace is associated with decreased risk of cardiovascular disease and all cause mortality, as published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
Reduced risk for all cause mortality has been found to be associated with walking at an average pace, brisk or fast walking paces have been found to be associated with a 24% risk decrease. Similar results were found for cardiovascular disease mortality with 24% decrease for brisk or fast walking and 21% decrease for walking at a normal pace. Older age groups were found to have more pronounced protective effects, individuals aged 60+ walking using faster paces experienced 53% reduction in risk of death from cardiovascular causes, and average pace walkers aged 60+ experienced 46% reduction in risk of death from cardiovascular causes.
Walking 5-7 kilometres per hour is typically considered to be walking at fast pace depending on the individual’s fitness level, alternative indicator is to walk at a pace that makes you slightly out of breath and sweaty when sustained. Walking pace is associated with all cause mortality risks which has received little attention. Researchers designed this study to investigate the associations of walking pace and all cause mortality.
Mortality records were linked with results of 11 populations based surveys in which participants self reported walking pace, adjustments were made for factors such as sex, age, BMI, and total amount and intensity of all physical activity taken. BMI and sex did not appear to influence outcomes, walking at fast or average pace was still associated with significant reduction in risk of all cause mortality and cardiovascular disease. No evidence was found to suggest an influence of significance to cancer mortality rates.
According to the researchers separating effects of one specific physical activity aspect and gaining better understandings of its potentially causal association with risk of premature death is complex process, assuming results reflect cause and effect analyses suggest increasing walking pace may be an easy straightforward way to improve heart health and risk for premature mortality. Researchers are calling for walking pace to be emphasized in public health messages and campaigns, especially in situations when walking more isn’t possible due to time restraints and environments. Walking faster may be a great option to get the heart rate up that most people can easily incorporate into daily routine.
Materials provided by University of Sydney.
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Emmanuel Stamatakis, Paul Kelly, Tessa Strain, Elaine M Murtagh, Ding Ding, Marie H Murphy. Self-rated walking pace and all-cause, cardiovascular disease and cancer mortality: individual participant pooled analysis of 50 225 walkers from 11 population British cohorts. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 2018; 52 (12): 761 DOI: 10.1136/bjsports-2017-098677