Walk away from the Grim Reaper

Walk away from the Grim Reaper

Do slow walkers or fast walkers live longer?

Darren MortonMar 20, 2023, 12:51 AM

What do the world’s longest-living people groups—the Sardinians, Okinawans and Seventh-day Adventists of California—have in common? Topping the list, as described by Dan Buettner in his book Blue Zones, is that these longevity all-stars move naturally. And there is no more natural form of movement than walking. 

And a recent study indicates that certain types of walking might be better than others. Australian researchers studied the “usual” walking speed of nearly 2000 elderly men and then followed them up over five years.* They discovered that how fast the men usually walked was related to their likelihood of dying over the five-year follow-up. 

Men who usually walked faster than 3 kph (moderate, but not a dawdle) were 1.23 times less likely to die than those who walked slower. In fact not one of those who usually walked at 5 kph or faster (a brisk pace) died. The researchers thus concluded that 5 kph is just a pace too fast for the Grim Reaper to catch you! 

Brisk is best for beating death!

The point is, for a health benefit in addition to the flexibility advantage, it is most beneficial to engage in brisk walking. Even just including short periods of faster walking, as you are able, is helpful in longevity. 

But even if you can’t, walking at any pace offers benefits. So get on your feet and Live More!

* Stanaway et al. (2011). “How fast does the Grim Reaper walk?” BMJ 343. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3240682  

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