You know how annoying it is when you’re walking down the street and someone is just dawdling in front of you like they don’t have a care in the world.
Like, you’re in a rush to get to work or you’re just walking at a normal pace to get anywhere and that one person will just be holding you up for no reason other than they’re being slow AF.
Well, now the jokes on them because research has shown fast walkers live up to 15 years longer than people who dawdle. An entire 15 years! They’re not messing about, are they.
The research, carried out by a team at Leicester University, analysed data from 474,919 people with an average age of 52 in the UK between 2006 and 2016.
The team found that, regardless of weight, those with a habitually fast walking pace have a long life expectancy – from underweight to morbidly obese.
Women who walked briskly had a life expectancy of 86.7 to 87.8 years old, whereas women who walked at a slower pace had a life expectancy of 72.4. Mens’ life expectancy dropped even lower; from 85.2 to 86.8 years at a fast pace to just 64.8 for slow walkers.
This is the first time research has associated fast walking pace with a longer life expectancy regardless of a person’s body weight or obesity status.
Professor Tom Yates, lead author of the study from the University of Leicester, said in a statement:
Our findings could help clarify the relative importance of physical fitness compared to body weight on life expectancy of individuals.
In other words, the findings suggest that perhaps physical fitness is a better indicator of life expectancy than body mass index (BMI), and that encouraging the population to engage in brisk walking may add years to their lives.
The research took data from the UK Biobank and was analysed by the National Institute for Health Research, Leicester Hospitals and the Universities of Leicester and Loughborough.
Dr Francesco Zaccardi, clinical epidemiologist at the Leicester Diabetes Centre and co-author of the study, said:
Studies published so far have mainly shown the impact of body weight and physical fitness on mortality in terms of relative risk, for example a 20 per cent relative increase of risk of death for every 5 kilograms per metres squared increase, compared to a reference value of a BMI of 25 kilograms per metres squared (the threshold BMI between normal weight and overweight).
However, it is not always easy to interpret a ‘relative risk’. Reporting in terms of life expectancy, conversely, is easier to interpret and gives a better idea of the separate and joint importance of body mass index and physical fitness.
Right guys, that’s it. I want all of you to take a break from whatever you’re doing and go for a brisk walk immediately.
No excuses, science is science.
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A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).