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Quick Stepping Senior Citizens Avoid Death

Tim Boyer's picture
Speed Walking

A recent study published in the British Medical Journal announces that senior citizens who walk faster than 3 miles per hour stay ahead of the Grim Reaper. In a population based prospective study correlating walking speeds with death rates, researchers discover that there is a statistically significant increase in the death rate for those who walk slower at speeds of approximately 2 miles per hour. The researchers conclude that the Grim Reaper has a working speed of 2 miles per hour and can theoretically be outpaced by simply walking faster.

In a tongue-in-cheek style of presentation, researchers from the Concord Health and Ageing in Men Project (CHAMP) in Sydney, Australia reveal their findings that walking at speeds of up to 3 miles per hour significantly decreased the death rate in a study comprised of 1,705 men aged 70 and above.

In the study, the participants were a mix of men of several nationalities who live within the inner city and suburbs of Sydney. At the beginning of the 5-year study the participants walking speeds were assessed for baseline data. Throughout the study period, the incidence of death among the participants was monitored and recorded for final analysis.

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What the researchers found was that of the 266 participants who died during the study, that they had an average walking speed of approximately 2 miles per hour. However, what was especially striking was the fact that none of the participants who had a walking speed of 3 miles per hour died during the entire 5-year period.

Using statistical software that measured walking speeds against mortality rates, the researchers determined that the Grim Reaper has a preferred walking speed during work of just under 2 miles per hour and that participants who walked at speeds greater than two miles per hour were 1.23 times less likely to encounter Death. Furthermore, that with a walking speed of 3 miles per hour, the faster participants were able to avoid the Grim Reaper’s touch entirely during the 5-year period.

In all seriousness, the importance of this study is that it does support past research that has indicated longevity benefits attributed to walking at a pace that has cardiovascular-improving properties. The authors of the paper believe that their results showing that senior citizens who walk faster than 3 miles per hour can stay ahead of the Grim Reaper can be used as a motivational tool to improve participation and adherence to health promotional activities. Aside from longevity, encouraging senior citizens to walk at a pace that strengthens the heart will promote other health benefits as well.

Reference: British Medical Journal (BMJ)