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Walking Pace Lowers All-Cause Mortality Risk

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 145 million adults include walking, as part of a physically active lifestyle – with six in ten walking for transportation, fun, relaxation, exercise, along with walking the dog.
We’ve previously known that increased walking time leads to increased fitness, lower body weight and body mass index, percent body fat, and a lower systolic (top number) blood pressure.

United Kingdom (UK) researchers writing – “Walking Pace Is Associated with Lower Risk of All-Cause and Cause-Specific Mortality” – which appears in the March issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, have determined that, “walking pace is associated with lower risk of a wide range of important health conditions (cancer & respiratory disease) independently of overall time spent walking.”

The UK researchers obtained data on 318,185 participants age forty to sixty-nine, who attended, “1 of 22 assessment centers across England, Wales, and Scotland, where they completed a touch-screen questionnaire, had physical measurements taken, and provided biological samples.”

Hospital admissions of the cohort group were ascertained through March of 2015 and mortality – from death certificates – extending to January 2016. Dietary information was obtained from a web-based twenty-four-hour recall questionnaire.
It was concluded that, “usual walking pace was associated with a range of health outcomes that extended beyond CVD and all-cause mortality, to all-respiratory diseases and COPD in both men and women.”

Study Findings

“Our findings also show that those reporting normally walking at a slow pace (less than 3 mph) had higher hazard for all-cause mortality and CVD and respiratory incident and mortality regardless the time spent walking.”

One interesting finding pertaining men was that, “surprisingly,” an average and brisk walking pace also demonstrated an increased risk of prostate cancer incidence, but not mortality. The researchers said that, while the reasons for the prostate risk association was unknown, “it has been postulated that health-conscious men (who are more likely to walk briskly), may be more likely to attend screening or report symptoms leading to increased detection of early cancers and improved prognosis.”

Implications

“It may be prudent to also ensure promotion of a brisk walking pace (greater than or equal to 4 mph), where the individual is capable, to further enhance the benefits of walking.”

Remember, you should always consult your physician before beginning any exercise, diet, or nutritional supplementation program.

Mackie and April share exerises every Wednesday on WWL-TV