The conversations of life

Time to speed up slow walkers: research says walk faster to live longer


While we all love a relaxed Sunday stroll, University of Sydney researchers are warning people to pick up the pace if they want better health – especially as you age.

They looked at over 50,000 UK walkers over 14 years – including how quickly they thought they walked and their health outcomes – and found those who walked at a fast pace (6 to 7.5km per hour or 100 steps per minute) had a 24 per cent lower risk of early death and a 21 per cent lower risk of heart disease.

And the benefits were even higher for older people. Faster walkers aged over 50 had a 53 per cent drop in their heart disease risk.

The study also revealed health benefits for those who walked at an average pace, but these were still well behind the fast walkers.

The researchers want people to walk at a rate where they feel out of breath, but can still have a conversation. The best thing? Walking is free, and easy to build into your everyday routine.

So don’t feel too bad the next time you dodge those chatty neighbours as you power past – you’re just avoiding an early grave.

Lauren is a journalist for, agedcare101 and The Donaldson Sisters. Growing up in a big family in small town communities, she has always had a love for the written word, joining her local library at the age of six months. With over eight years' experience in writing and editing, she is a keen follower of news and current affairs with a nose for a good story.

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