Is It Good to Be a Fast Walker?

No one can outrun death, but you might be able to keep it at bay just by walking faster.

Being a fast walker has been linked to increased longevity, regardless of weight.
Being a fast walker has been linked to increased longevity, regardless of weight.

According to a study concluded in 2019, men who walk at a fast clip live, on average, 20 years longer than men who walk slowly. The average lifespan for women who keep up a brisk pace is 14 years longer than that of their more sedate counterparts.

The real shocker is that it doesn't matter how much the walker weighs: The longer lifespans held true even for overweight and obese walkers. The results came from seven years of data on 474,919 people in the UK.

Tom Yates, the study's lead and a professor at the University of Leicester in England, cautioned that people looking at the results needed to keep in mind that they were based on self-reported data, and people have different ideas of what walking quickly means.

“Nonetheless, whilst there are likely to be multiple factors contributing to the strength of our findings, it is well established that increasing your fitness is one of the best things you can do for your health,” Yates said. “Increasing your walking pace in everyday life is a good way to increase fitness levels, particularly in those who are slow walkers.”

The walking life:

  • On average, people walk at a rate of 3.1 mph (5 km/h).

  • To burn the calories in a single M&M candy, you would need to walk the length of an American football field, or 100 yards (91 m).
  • .
  • Racewalking is an official Olympic sport, in distances of 20 km and 50 km.

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