Walking More and Faster Linked to Living Longer

A new US study has found that more is better when it comes to walking. The new study was led by Paul Williams and it involved about 7,374 male and 31,607 female participants in their mid-40s who were enrolled in the National Walkers’ Health Study between 1998 and 2001. The National Walkers’ Health Study is a large database of information maintained at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, California about thousands of middle-age men and women who walk regularly for exercise. At the end of 2008, the researchers found that 2,448 of the study participants had died and that the all-cause mortality death rate was highest in those who walked the slowest, taking 24 minutes or more per mile. The study findings suggest that one’s walking speed can be a good predictor’s of one’s health status and even one’s risk of dying.

Interestingly, the researchers also found that compared to the study participants who did not walk 150 minutes a week, those who walked more than the basic recommendation of 150 minutes a week had a one-third lower chance of dying. Those who met but did not exceed the recommendation of 150 minutes a week had an 11 percent lower chance of dying.

It is important to note that the new study only found an association between walking more and a reduced risk of death but not a cause and effect (causation).

Source: The study was titled “Dose-Response Relationship of Physical Activity to Premature and Total All-Cause and Cardiovascular Disease Mortality in Walkers” and was published in the journal PLoS One.