As the summer warms and those “dog days” set in, it can be so hot that you don’t want to leave your shady spot on the porch… or even the comfort of indoor air conditioning.
Things feel lazy and languid — and taking a walk, let alone a brisk one, is probably the furthest thing from your mind.
The only thing you want to be “brisk” is the icy glass of tea in your hand!
But according to a new study, there’s no time like the present to pick up your walking pace — because the faster you walk, the longer you’re likely to live.
Now, I take this with a grain of salt, and I’ll explain why in a moment. But first, here’s what the latest science has to say.
In the study, when Australian researchers linked surveys of over 50,000 people on their walking pace to mortality records, they found that those who walked at an average pace cut their risk of dying from ANY cause by 20 percent when compared to the slowest walkers.
Not only that, but those who walked at a fast pace reduced their risk of death even further, by 24 percent.
All it took was putting one foot in front of the other a little more quickly!
And when the researchers zeroed in on cardiovascular disease deaths among participants over age 60, the results were even more striking.
Compared to the slowest walkers, average-paced walkers slashed their risk of dying from cardiovascular disease by 46 percent — and the fast-paced walkers slashed it by a whopping 53 percent.
Imagine cutting your chances of death in HALF with nothing more than a sturdy pair of walking shoes and a spring in your step!
Now, the study didn’t determine exactly how walking at a faster pace can add years to your life. And how fast do you have to walk just to hit the “average” mark? How brisk is brisk?
In the study, a “fast” pace was defined as one that makes you slightly out of breath or sweaty when sustained. That could vary depending on how much you weigh, how much sleep you got, how much you ate earlier in the day, etc.
There’s no exact science to it – not yet.
But there might be something there, since we know that brisk walks increase your heart rate … get blood flowing to every nook and cranny… and even lower your risk of high blood pressure and high cholesterol as much as running does.
So, if you want to live longer… just try walking a little bit faster than you normally do, without causing any injury.
You don’t have to keep it up for long. Even just three daily 10-minute walks five days a week will add up to the recommended 150 minutes of exercise weekly.
And if it’s too hot (or cold) to walk outside, you’ll get the same benefits hoofing it inside with the A/C on. That old trend of “mall walking” still hasn’t gone out of style!