Two Reasons Why “Brisk” Walking is Important

If you walk for exercise, your walking pace can have a big impact on your brain and longevity according to several recent studies.  If you do not exercise, start walking briskly!  Here’s why:

A recent study in the British Medical Journal found men over the age 70 who walked at a pace of 3 miles per hour were more likely to live longer compared to slower walkers.  

Other studies have also shown the correlation between walking speed and mortality (death):

  • A 2011 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found faster walkers over the age of 65 had increased survival rates compared to slower walkers.
  • A 2008 study published in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society found that a slower gait was associated with a significantly greater risk of death and disability. 
  • A 2005 study published in the same journal showed that a gait speed of less than 2 miles per hour can be used to identify higher-risk individuals for health problems.

Finally, researchers from the Mayo Clinic found walking with a slower gait and shorter stride is associated with an increased risk of cognitive decline. In this study, computerized gait assessment revealed that participants with lower cadence (steps per minute), velocity (speed) and length of stride experienced significantly larger declines in global cognition (mental processing), memory and brain function.