PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The pace of your walk provides insight into the chances of you developing and dying of heart disease, according to a recent study.
New research looked at more than 400,000 people and found that over a six-year period, slow walkers were twice as likely to die from heart disease as compared to those with a faster pace.
“People who were brisk walkers had significantly lower cardiac and all-cause death, which makes sense because those patients have higher cardio-respiratory fitness,” Dr. Haitham Ahmed of the Cleveland Clinic said.
Thomas Yates and his team at the University of Leicester conducted the study.
Dr. Ahmed says there’s no way of knowing if people walk faster because they’re more fit or if faster walking leads to better fitness. But increasing your exercise intensity ultimately helps your heart health.
“Now that you told me that I certainly walking faster,” Karey Carpenter said.
Carpenter says she usually likes a slower stroll because she thinks and meditates when she walks. But a faster pace is a better work out for your heart, according to the study.
The heart disease research also found that those with a weak hand-grip strength were at greater risk.
More evidence that it’s best to combine aerobic exercise with with some weight training.
“We tend to lose our muscle mass after age forty, every year, by approximately one percent per year,” Dr. Ahmed explained. “So, if you feel like you are not as strong as you used to be and you know that you haven’t been doing resistance training, it’s definitely something to incorporate into your exercise routine.”
In addition to being heart healthy, brisk walking has also been linked to many other health benefits, including weight loss, mood improvement and better sleep.