A new study shows a clear link between walking pace and biological age.
The study, published in Communications Biology, examined genetic data from more than 400,000 middle-aged UK adults and found that a faster walking pace was associated with “younger” biological age markers, regardless of the actual amount of physical activity.
The study is one of the first to compare genetic data with self-reported walking speeds and measurement of movement intensity from fitness tracking devices worn by participants. Previously published research has shown that just 10 minutes of brisk walking a day is associated with longer life expectancy, and that brisk walkers have up to 20 years’ greater life expectancy compared to slow walkers.
Paddy Dempsey, PhD, lead author on the study, says the research “suggests measures such as a habitually slower walking speed are a simple way of identifying people at greater risk of chronic disease or unhealthy aging, and that activity intensity may play an important role in optimizing interventions. For example, in addition to increasing overall walking, those who are able could aim to increase the number of steps completed in a given time (e.g., by walking faster to the bus stop). However, this requires further investigation.”
Read the full study online at https://doi.org/10.1038/s42003-022-03323-x.