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Is it better to walk fast or slow? This is how walking helps you live a long and young life

A new study shows that brisk walking can significantly slow down the aging process, so much so that a person who has a habit of walking fast when they reach middle age will still be as healthy as a person. 16 years younger when compared to a slow-walker.

For the first time, the researchers used data from Bioband (UK), a database that includes the health information of half a million people, to reach their conclusions. According to study leader Dr Paddy Dempsey, of the University of Leicester (UK), it “recommends measures such as a slower-than-normal walking speed as a simple way to identify people at high risk of developing these diseases.” chronic or unhealthy aging”.

This is good news for those who are interested in living longer and don’t want to have to work out or join fitness groups. After all, brisk walking can easily become a daily routine, requires no special equipment, is easier to do than running, and can be incorporated when you’re on the phone, listening to a good podcast go with a friend.

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Brisk walking is better than slow walking. (Illustration)

You may not need to set aside a separate time in the day to do this, but coordinate it in all activities: Walking to work, walking, sightseeing…

There are many other studies that also demonstrate the benefits of walking. In 2019, the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that a brisk walk once a week was enough to significantly reduce the chances of an early death.

That same year, the American Society of Clinical Oncology also published a study showing that people diagnosed with breast cancer who walked 180 minutes a week had half their risk of dying from the disease, compared with those who did not. without walking, for a period of 8 years.

Also in the US, that same year a study found that brisk walking improved brain health and thinking in older adults with dementia. And the American Stroke Association recommends walking for 30 minutes a day to help reduce the risk of stroke by 27%. But requires speeding up.

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As with other forms of exercise, always warm up before going for a brisk walk. (Illustration)

“Today we sit more but live longer, so we need to learn how to walk properly,” says Joanna Hall, founder of the WalkActive fitness program. “You can save a lot of money on gym cards if you walk right, and at the same time breathe fresh air and have a reputation with family and friends (when walking with them). However, quality is more important than quantity, so you should not walk too slowly or stomp your feet, but should move quickly,” the expert shared.

To get the most benefit from walking, Hall advises skipping the swinging, hip swinging style of the 1990s jog, and returning to basic walking.

Doing so puts stress on the body and puts more strain on the lower back, with unnatural short strides. Instead, it’s best to gain momentum with your back foot, keep your head in line with your spine, and focus on taking quick, decisive steps.

How do you know if you are walking fast? First, you take a quick breath. If you go for a leisurely walk, stopping every now and then to pick flowers and watch the dog – then you’re clearly not exerting enough effort and that’s not going fast enough.

Second, if you are with someone, or even talking on the phone, the two of you can’t talk as usual, but your voice is quick, with rapid breathing. Third, watch your footsteps. At a minimum, aim for 120 long steps per minute, roughly matching your heart rate.

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Having a companion helps you maintain better walking habits. (Illustration)

Abraham Lincoln famously said about walking: “I may walk slowly, but I never go backward. However, now science has confirmed: Walk briskly and you can reverse the biological clock.

5 ways to increase walking speed:

1. Go with the intention of going fast. This may sound obvious, but if you don’t focus on this purpose, you will easily get distracted and not remember to maintain a fast, steady step.

2. Invest in the right tools. A good pair of shoes is basic, but you should also have comfortable walking clothing suitable for brisk walking. You will not enjoy walking if you feel uncomfortable while walking.

3. Have a companion: As with any type of exercise, it’s much easier when you have someone with you to do it. You’ll both cheer each other up and it’s easier to stay motivated and disciplined.

4. Don’t be afraid to learn more about good walking or even ask a trainer, or download a tutorial app. If you want to get the best results from any sport or exercise, you’d ask “the master,” so why not do the same with walking?

5. Use the back foot as a pillar: Often when walking in a hurry without thinking about the right way to go, we often bow our heads and put our feet first. Instead, you should straighten your back and support your back leg.

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