The British Journal of Sports Medicine has released research from five universities showing that simply increasing your walking pace can add years to your life.
When compared to walking at a slow pace, walking at a brisk pace has been shown to reduce the likelihood of dying from cardiovascular disease by 24%. In people aged over 60, an astounding risk reduction of 53% was shown.
What constitutes a fast pace depends on an individual’s fitness levels. To find your fast pace – walk at a rate that makes you slightly out of breath and sweaty after some time. You should be able to talk but not sing.
The research was conducted by the Universities of Sydney, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Limerick and Ulster. The researches collated data from participants in England and Scotland who recorded their walking page between 1994 and 2008. The walking pace was then linked to mortality rates in those individuals.
Ditch 10,000 steps and take up ‘active 10’s’ instead
An easy way to gain these health benefits is to adopt ‘Active 10s’ into your daily schedule. With ‘Active 10s‘ you don’t need to count steps. You simply aim to do three brisk 10-minute walks a day.
Prof Rob Copeland from Sheffield Hallam University compared the benefits of ‘Active 10s’ with the 10,000 step Fitbit craze. He asked half of his participants to aim for 10,000 steps a day, and the other half to try three Active 10s per day. The Active 10 group found it much easier to fit three short walks into their schedule than the 10,000 step group.
The study also showed that even though the Active 10 group were walking an average of only 3,000 steps, they were doing 30% more moderate to vigorous activity per day than the 10,000 step group.
So not only is brisk walking easier to fit into your schedule, it’s also better for your health!
Set a goal
A great way to motivate yourself to get out walking (even on rainy days!) is to set yourself a goal. When you set a fitness goal it’s important to strike the balance between something that will challenge you, but that is also achievable. Set the bar too low and you won’t be spurred into action. If you set it too high then you run the risk of de-motivating yourself.
A fantastic goal to aim for is to complete one of the classic long distance treks in the Alps, such as the tour du mont blanc or the haute route. You will get fit, make friends and visit some of the most beautiful scenery in Europe.
See you on the trails!