The life expectancy of brisk walking women ranged from 87 to 88 years, and from 85 to 87 years in brisk walking men.

By Ian Horswill

Posted on June 25, 2019

Brisk walking is the key to a longer life expectancy.

According to research by the Leicester Diabetes Centre in Leicester, UK, andpublished in Mayo Clinic Proceedings the baboon Rafiki in the 1994 movie Lion King is spot on “Don’t you dawdle”.

In the study, researchers took self-reported walking speeds and body mass indexes (BMI) of nearly 475,000 participants, and followed up with them for nearly seven years. There were around 12,800 deaths in that time.

They used this data to estimate the lifespan of the participants. They discovered that regardless of BMI, brisk walkers enjoyed a longer longevity than the slow walkers.

The life expectancy of brisk-walking women ranged from 87 to 88, and from 85 to 87 in brisk-walking men. Slow-walking women, on the other hand, had a life expectancy of 72 to 85. Men who walked slowly had a life expectancy of 65 to 81.

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“Brisk walking” was defined by researchers as walking at least 100 steps a minute, or five kilometres an hour.

Women who walked briskly, at 2 metres a second (over 4 mph), could enjoy a life-expectancy boost of up to 15 years longer than those who walked at less than 1.3 metres per second (3 mph). The increase for men could be up to 20 years, Francesco Zaccardi, a clinical epidemiologist at the Leicester Diabetes Centre.

“Walking pace is a very good marker of cardiopulmonary health and general health,” he said.

Whether it is to grab a coffee, walk the dog, walk to the office, you are advised to do it briskly.

Heightened cardio health may explain why brisk walkers seem to have longer life expectancies than slow walkers. Previous research backs this up: A study published in JAMA found that the more fit you are, the less likely you are to risk an early death, Runner’s Worldreported.

Previous research has determined that 100 to 129 steps per minute counts as moderate intensity exercise, while anything above that is considered vigorous.