Senior couple walking. Photo: Frank and Helena (Getty)
Well, unless you walk faster right into oncoming traffic.
According to MarketWatch, scientists at five different universities say walking with purpose actually serves a really good one: living longer.
Researchers from the Universities of Sydney, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Limerick and Ulster used “mortality records with the results of 11 population-based surveys in England and Scotland between 1994 and 2008,” all of which included the subjects’ walking rates. They were able to conclude walking at an average pace decreased your risk of dying by 20 percent compared to a slow pace. Naturally, walking at a “brisk or fast pace” was associated with a risk reduction of 24 percent.
Of course, walking faster and living forever have no correlation: Scientists Keep Pig Brains Alive Outside The Body In Quest For Human Immortality
While a fast pace was generally considered to be somewhere around 3 to 4.4 miles per hour, scientists said the main thing to consider is walking at a pace that will leave you “slightly out of breath or sweaty when sustained.” It will probably also help your cause if you refrain from walking fast in St. Louis. You know, so you don’t get hit by a random bullet.
If you’re one of those guys who thinks walking is for the birds, there’s actually good news for you. It appears even if you wait until you’re 60 years old before lacing up a pair of sneaks and giving it a go, you’ll to be pleasantly surprised with the results. Those subjects over the age of 60 who walked at an average pace experienced a 46 percent reduction in risk of some kind of cardiovascular death. Meanwhile, having your AARP card and picking up the pace a bit meant a 53 percent risk reduction.