Attention, Fast Walkers—New Research Shows You May Live Longer!

Great news for girls in a hurry!

fast walkers
Image: iStock

Despite being only 5’2 and having short legs, I’m definitely what you’d call a fast walker. When I’ve got things to do (which is pretty much always) I simply don’t have the time or patience to be stuck behind someone who appears to be taking the adage ‘slow and steady wins the race’ a little too seriously. This is amplified tenfold when I’m walking somewhere to eat delicious food.

But despite being on the receiving end of  many a ‘Whoa hold on there, Speedy Gonzales!” comment, it would appear us fast walkers actually have the last laugh (literally!).

A new study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine has revealed that speedy walkers actually live longer.

The research surveyed over 50,000 UK adults who self-reported their average, perceived walking speed, as well as a range of other health factors. The researchers analysed the participants for nine years and found that the self-professed average or fast walkers had a 20% lower mortality rate than the slow pokes.

Of course, the study doesn’t conclusively show that having the need for speed makes you live longer. But more likely, being able to maintain fast pace is a good sign of overall health and fitness levels, leading to improved longevity. The researchers also suggest that fast walking is a more efficient cardiovascular exercise then… well, dawdling.

“The main takeaway message is that stepping up the pace may be a good hack to make walking more health-enhancing,” study author and professor of physical activity, lifestyle and population health at the University of Sydney School of Medicine,  Emmanuel Stamatakis, told TIME.

So, if you’re the cheetah of the bunch and have been looking for a subtle hint to speed up your turtle-paced buddies, just send them this article!

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