Walking Speed May Matter

But if you prefer to stroll, please don’t stop

Most of us know that staying active can keep you feeling young, even in your later years. But if longevity is your goal, it appears that you may want to pick up your pace a bit.

A study published earlier this year in the Journal of the American Medical Association found a link between walking speed and longer survival. University of Pittsburgh researchers, who studied the walking speeds of more than 34,000 people age 65 and older, found that those who walked faster had a much higher survival rate. The faster walkers, in fact, lived up to 10 years longer than those who were slower.

Ronan Factora, MD, a geriatrician at Cleveland Clinic, did not take part in the study but says the results illustrate how important it is to stay active, no matter how fast you walk.

“Even just walking 30 minutes a day, four days a week has been shown to be beneficial in terms of reducing blood pressure, improving your cholesterol, and having impact on your sugars if you’re diabetic,” says Dr. Factora, a Staff Member in the Department of General Internal Medicine, Section of Geriatrics, within the Medicine Institute

He also serves as Co-Director of the Aging Brain Clinic. “Overall, there’s improvement in mood, there’s reduction in anxiety, there’s improvement in cognition,” he says. “There’s nothing wrong with walking.”

Even if it’s just a simple stroll.

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