Friday, January 6, 2012

Walk Faster - Live Longer

I'm already hooked on the benefits of walking, as it has been a key part of my weight loss.  I'm now at the point that I shoot for a minimum of 5 miles per day, though on many days I go much further.  And over the years my pace has gotten much faster, both with normal everyday walking and focused fitness walking.  I can easily sustain a speed of 4.5 mph for 90 minutes without much trouble and I routinely reach the 5.0 mph threshold.  And since I can walk anywhere, anytime, I can stick to my plan without too much trouble.  End result is 70 pounds lost and kept off for over 5 years.

Without a doubt I have seen and experienced the positive results of walking in terms of weight management.  But it turns out there are even more benefits to walking, especially fast walking.

Several recent studies have concluded that faster walking speeds are reliable indicators of longer living.  An article in USA Today by Janice Lloyd reveals that the predicted years of remaining life for people age 65 or older increased as gait-speed increased, with the most significant gains coming after the age of 75.

In addition, it was found that predicting longevity based on gait speed was as accurate as predictions based on age, sex, chronic conditions, smoking history, blood pressure, body mass index and hospitalization.

Here is a summary of the information compiled from nine different studies involving 34,000 people:

How fast a person walks is a good predictor of longevity. An 80-year-old man who clocks 1 mph has a 10% probability of reaching 90, while a woman of the same age walking at that pace has a 23% chance. The median life expectancy for the 80-year-old man is four years. For the woman it is seven.
Up that speed to 3.5 mph, and the 80-year-old man has an 84% probability of reaching 90, while a woman would have an 86% chance.That translates to a median life expectancy of 14 years for the man and 17 for the woman.

Ok, so you might be thinking "I'm not anywhere near that age, so why do I care?" Simple answer - it will be here quicker than you think, so it's never too early to start down the path towards better health and fitness.   Plus, the later in life you wait to improve your health, the harder it is to do, and if you wait too long, it might be too late...

No comments:

Post a Comment