Fast walkers could live 15 years longer than dawdlers, says new study

Fast walkers could live 15 years longer than dawdlers, says new study

A new study has claimed that brisk walkers are at a serious health advantage to their slower walking counterparts, saying that the difference in life quality could be as high as 15 years.

This comes from researchers at University Hospitals Leicester, who analysed data taken from around 475,000 people with an average age of 52 over a 10-year period.

They looked at every single body type from underweight to morbidly obese, but the results were found across the board: fast walkers had a high life expectancy.

Walking Credit: Getty

Women who walked briskly had a life expectancy of between 86.7 to 87.8 years old, whilst their male counterparts on average were expected to live to around 85.2 to 86.8 years old.

But what about the dawdlers? Women who strolled at a leisurely pace only lived on average to be 72.4 years old, while men who took their time were even lower at 64.8 years.

A woman walking fast. Credit: Pexels

Tom Yates, professor of physical activity, sedentary behaviour and health at the University of Leicester and a lead author of the study, stated:

"Our findings could help clarify the relative importance of physical fitness compared to body weight on the life expectancy of individuals. In other words, the findings suggest that perhaps physical fitness is a better indicator of life expectancy than body mass index (BMI), and that encouraging the population to engage in brisk walking may add years to their lives."

Walking Credit: Getty

But while co-author Dr Francesco Zaccardi, clinical epidemiologist at the Leicester Diabetes Centre based at Leicester General Hospital, confirmed the results, he did warn against taking the results at their face value. "Studies published so far have mainly shown the impact of body weight and physical fitness on mortality in terms of relative risk," he began.

"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."

A man enjoying a stroll Credit: Pexels

This isn't the first study the two authors have done on the effects of slow walking on the human body. They also found last year that slow walkers were twice as likely to die from complications related to heart issues, even when factors such as smoking and/or their BMI were taken into account.