Fast-paced walking helps you live longer: study

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Moving at the pace of a New York minute could save your life. 

Fast-paced walking on a daily basis increases cancer survivors’ chances of living longer, according to a new study in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. 

The revealing study, published this month, examined the walking paces and mobility of more than 233,000 former cancer patients between the ages of 50 and 71 for several years. 

“Those who walked at the slowest pace had more than twofold increased risk of death from any cause, compared with those reporting the fastest walking pace,” wrote the researchers from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, the University of North Carolina, George Washington University and the National Cancer Institute.

While the study is clear that walking slowly doesn’t cause death, researchers found increased mortality rates in cancer survivors who embarked on daily strolls. 

In fact, the association between slow walking and early death persisted across at least nine tumor types, including breast, colon, Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, prostate, oral, melanoma, rectal, respiratory and urinary cancers, per the data. 

The latest findings add to the much-explored link between the pep in one’s step and the increased risk of early death for cancer survivors. And it could be an easy prescription for those in recovery.

“It’s important to improve our understanding of how the diagnosis and treatment of a broad range of cancers may affect walking pace during survivorship — a potentially modifiable risk factor — which could lead to new treatment and rehabilitation strategies to improve the health of these patients,” lead author Elizabeth A. Salerno said in a statement. 

For both cancer survivors and non-cancer patients, how fast a person struts their stuff has a significant impact on their overall health and longevity — especially in the midst of the pandemic. 

A 2019 study published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings found that, regardless of weight, brisk walkers who take about 100 steps a minute have a longer life expectancy than people strolling along at 50 steps a minute. 

Those findings were similar to a 2018 study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine which concluded that walking at an average pace was linked to a 20% reduction in the risk of mortality compared to walking at a slow pace, and walking at a brisk or fast pace was associated with a risk reduction of 24%. 

Noting the city’s burgeoning vaccine rollout, and the recent break in the winter weather, there’s really no excuse not to pound the pavement with a little extra zip in your hips each and every day. 

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