The results showed that walking at an average pace reduced the risk of cardiovascular disease mortality by 24 percent and 21 percent for those walking at a faster pace.
‘Walking faster can reduce the risk of death, improve heart health and increase longevity.’
Walking at an average pace also reduced the risk for all cause mortality by 20 percent whereas walking at a fast pace reduced the risk by four more percent, compared to walking at a slow pace.
"While sex and body mass index did not appear to influence outcomes, walking at an average or fast pace was associated with a significantly reduced risk of all-cause mortality and cardiovascular disease. There was no evidence to suggest pace had a significant influence on cancer mortality however," said lead author, Emmanuel Stamatakis, Professor from Charles Perkins Centre and School of Public Health at University of Sydney.
"A fast pace is generally five to seven kilometres per hour, but it really depends on a walker's fitness levels; an alternative indicator is to walk at a pace that makes you slightly out of breath or sweaty when sustained," he added.
The study published in British Journal of Sports Medicine,
included data from 50,225 walkers.
The researchers also found that average pace walkers aged 60 years or over experienced a 46 percent reduction in risk of death from cardiovascular causes, and fast pace walkers a 53 percent reduction.
The research team hopes that walking pace gets emphasised in public health messages.