Want To Live Longer and Better? Start Walking….But Do It A Little Faster

Medical science has recognized for many years that walking 30 minutes a day improves the quality of life through the attainment of a higher level of functional capacity up to the end of life. Now we have research that walking 30 minutes at a rate of 3.5 miles per hour also improves the quantity, or how long we live.

A recent article in the Journal of the American Medical Association studied thousands of seniors over age 65 and found that those who walked at a faster speed lived longer and with a better quality of life. The paper pointed out that walking is a reliable tool for measuring well-being and predicting longevity because walking requires body support, timing, and power, and it places demands on the brain, spinal cord, muscle, joints, heart, and lungs. Significant to this study was the finding that the greatest gains in longevity correlated with gait speed and were realized after age 75.

What is most surprising about this new research was the dramatic correlation that was found between gait speed and life expectancy. Figure 1 compared the probability that an 80 year old male or female will live to 90, based on waling one mile per hour versus 3.5 miles per hour, and the predicted differences in medial life expectancies for these two groups. The analysis demonstrated that the median life expectancy of an 80 year old of either sex increases an additional 10 years, simply if the gait speed of that individual is 3.5 mph versus 1 mph.

Bottom Line: We all know that exercise is good for us and performing some activity such as walking 30 minutes a day is going to be good for us. Now we know that if we pick up the pace a little bit we will have a better quality of life and will probably live longer. So if an apple a day keeps the doctor away, walking at brisk pace will increase the distance between the doctor and the patient.

Gait speed and longevity

Speed of Walking Improves Longevity

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