Study Shows the Benefits of a Brisk Walk Over a Slow One

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.One important inference of these statistics is that intensity matters, if you are walking for health. \”Our results do suggest that there is a significant health benefit to pursuing a faster pace,\” Dr. Williams said. Pushing your body, he said, appears to cause favorable physiological changes that milder exercise doesnt replicate.

via Study Shows the Benefits of a Brisk Walk Over a Slow One.

We’re going to offer up another potential explanation for the difference in mortality rate between slow and fast walkers.

If your walking pace is 3-4 miles per hour,  you’re moving along at a really nice clip, which indicates you’ve achieved a pleasant level of personal fitness.  Not an athlete perhaps but you have a good level of functional fitness.  It indicates that you’re doing rather well in that regard.  Slower speeds might indicate going slower.

Regardless.  If you are are a walker, note that walking faster may be preferable to walking farther.  Personally we like to see people working on improving BOTH their speed and distance.

There are a couple of great smartphone games to help you here.  One would be RunKeeper or another of its competitors that lets you compare your pace today to your personal best previous pace, and thus allows you to race your old slow self.  It’s great.

The other is a fascinating and surprisingly scary app called Zombies, Run, that gives you the pretty creepy feeling you’re being followed and suddenly every once in a while the story is going to get to a place where you’re going to need to RUN! or JUMP! or SPIN AROUND!    It’s great too.

Should you walk on a treadmill, or on grass, or on a sidewalk, or on a trail?  Yes.  All of these which present themselves to you. Vary it to keep it fresh.

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