In an interesting study out of the UK, “brisk walkers have up to 20 years’ greater life expectancy than slow walkers,” the University of Leicester wrote the study published in the journal Communications Biology.
How does walking correlate to life expectancy? In this study, it all comes down to telomeres. Telomeres are repetitive sequences found at the end of a chromosome that protect it from damage compared to the cap on the end of a shoelace that stops it from unwinding. “Each time a cell divides, these telomeres become shorter – until a point where they become so short that the cell can no longer divide, known as ‘replicative senescence.’
The researchers reviewed data on over 400k people in Great Britain, including data from tracking devices like Fitbits. They found a direct correlation between the user’s reported walking pace, those walking faster than 4 miles per hour, and the length of their telomeres which pegged them at age up to 20 years younger in terms of telomere measurements.
We know you expect to hear you have to walk for hours per day to see the benefits, but you may be surprised to find you only need to walk fast for 10 minutes a day for a longer life expectancy. Get those tennis shoes on, go outside, enjoy a brisk walk, and then slow down and enjoy the scenery on the way home.
Study Source: https://le.ac.uk/news/2022/april/walking-speed-ageing