Faster Walkers Age More Slowly
Almost everyone knows about the benefits of walking, but there is one more crucial factor that some are not aware of- the speed at which you walk.
Faster walkers age more slowly, have great cognitive abilities and slow or stop the onset of major diseases. They even appear to be younger when photographs are shown of faster walkers next to their slower-walking counterparts of the same age.
There is a misconception that the distance walked is the primary indicator of the benefits. In a study by Semantic Scholar, individuals who suffered from a stroke were asked whether it was more important to walk further or faster. 76 percent of respondents said that walking farther was more important and only 18 percent thought it was more important to walk faster.
Benefits to Picking Up Your Walking Speed
A study reported by the UK’s Independent, stated that “A simple test to measure the speed someone walks could predict their chance of getting diseases like Alzheimer’s decades before symptoms develop, scientists say. In fact, researchers found 45-year-olds who naturally walked slowly had brains and bodies that showed signs of “accelerated ageing” on a 19-measure scale. Their lungs, teeth and immune system were all in worse shape than people of the same age who walked faster.” There are also some additional benefits to picking up your walking speed:
- You can cover the same distance faster.
- You get a better workout in last time.
- You burn more calories.
- You will feel better about yourself.
And the greatest benefit of all is that you may have a better chance at a longer life. Let the following paragraph, as reported at Lifehacker.com, sink in: “Unexpectedly, the death rate remained high among the slowest walkers, even if they met or exceeded the standard exercise guidelines and expended as much energy per day as someone walking briskly for 30 minutes. This effect was most pronounced among the slowest of the slow walkers, whose pace was 24 minutes per mile or higher. They were 44 percent more likely to have died than walkers who moved faster, even if they met the exercise guidelines.”
My wife and I know something about walking fast because we completed our first (and only) marathon by walking fast for about 80 percent of the distance and slow jogging for the rest. This is a great option for non-runners who are in decent shape. I’m one of those who have never learned to enjoy running but much prefer a nice brisk walk – especially if there is a reward at the end.
The Best Exercise is One That an Individual Will Actually Do
Of course, one of the issues we face is that for many people, walking fast seems harder than jogging slowly. So by all means jog if that works for you. But the best exercise is one that an individual will actually do. If you are a couch potato, get off the couch and go for a slow walk. Then walk a little faster, and a little faster still until you can either maintain a fairly brisk pace or perhaps are ready to begin jogging. Or do what my wife and I did and combine fast walking with slow to moderate-paced jogging.
Three Tips to Boost Your Walking Speed
So how do you incorporate this information into your walking routine. An article on the Silver Sneakers website, offers three tips to boost your walking speed:
- Bend Your Arms for a Total-Body Workout.
- Take Shorter Steps for a Smoother Gait.
- Roll and Push for a Powerful Stride.
How fast is fast? Really fast walkers can average about 4 miles per hour (a 15 minute mile), with moderate-paced walkers averaging about 3 miles per hour and slow walkers at 2.5 miles per hour or less. Incidentally, speed walkers can travel as fast as 6 miles per hour, faster than some joggers.
One other important strategy is to shoot for smaller incremental gains as opposed to vaulting from a slow to fast walker in a short time frame. If you now walk at a 2.5 hour pace, the incremental objective should be 2.8 or 3 mph not a quick jump to 3 mph plus.
Whether you walk on the street, on trails, or at your local school track, pick up the pace a bit and reap the large benefits.
Visit this article to learn about many more great ways to get and stay in shape.