A new study finds the speed of your stride is more important than your BMI in predicting longevity.  When it comes to your long-term health, slow and steady may lose the race. That’s because the speed at which you walk may be a better indicator of your long-term health than your weight or body-mass index, says a new study.

And for people who are middle-aged or older, the faster you walk, the longer you might live.

This study, led by a group of researchers in a report published by Mayo Clinic Proceedings, analyzed a massive compilation of medical information. This study surveyed nearly 500,000 middle-aged people, (average age 58).

It gathered various health data such as body-fat percentage, hand-grip strength, waist circumference, and body-mass index. It also asked participants if they would describe their walking pace as slow, steady/average, or brisk.

Those numbers contradict the common assumption that overweight people are at higher risk of health problems than their lower-weight peers. In analyzing this information, the research team found that self-reporting brisk walkers had a longer life expectancy across all levels of BMI.

Brisk-walking women had an average life expectancy of 86.7 to 87.8 years; the average for brisk-walking men was 85.2 to 86.8 years.

In comparison, the slow walkers had shorter life expectancies.

Surprisingly, the shortest-lived group were slow walkers who had a BMI lower than 20, which is considered a normal to underweight number.

Women in this group had an average life expectancy of 72.4 years, dropping to 64.8 years for men.

Those numbers contradict the common assumption that overweight people are at higher risk of health problems than their lower-weight peers, regardless of the former group’s level of activity. They also suggest that physical fitness is a primary indicator of potential longevity. Researchers haven’t yet established a direct causal connection between walking speed and life expectancy.

“Increasing your walking pace in everyday life is a good way to increase fitness levels, particularly in those who are slow walkers.” Says “Tom Yates” from the University of Leicester, where the study was conducted. But as reported by Newsweek, team member Tom Yates (professor of physical activity, sedentary behavior, and health at the University of Leicester) believes that upping your pace is a good way to get healthier.

“While there are likely to be multiple factors contributing to the strength of our findings, it is well established that increasing your fitness is one of the best things you can do for your health,” Yates said. “Increasing your walking pace in everyday life is a good way to increase fitness levels, particularly in those who are slow walkers.”

If you think about this, it only stands to reason that like anything else, you get out of “It” what you put into “It”. Walking briskly, even carrying wrist weights as your walking increases the amount of energy your body is expending in order to perform what you’re asking of it. This not only helps you to burn more calories, but it also gets your heart pumping! That’s your cardiovascular system, working harder and in turn, increases the amount of oxygen being pulled down into your lungs which then enriches your blood. This all comes down to a great working relationship of all the key internal body parts working the way they were designed to.

In order to make sure you’re constantly walking at that brisk pace each time you go out. You need to track how much your walking, the speed of those paces, the calories burned each and every time you go out for your power-walking exercise. One way to do this accurately, and consistently is by using either a Pedometer , which does a great job of counting your steps, the distance you’ve traveled and the calories burned. Going one better is to use an activity monitor. Now, this really can take things up a couple of notches. Depending on the data you wish to collect, an activity monitor can provide you with all of the things a pedometer can do, along with accurately plotting your course by use of GPS technology built into the watch and even tracking your heartrate! One such activity monitor that will provide you with all of these and more is the Garmin Vívosport GPS Sport & Activity Tracker  

This Activity Monitor offers Built-in GPS gives you the freedom to take your activities outside. During a run, walk or ride, Vívosport is able to track distance, time and speed or pace and even map it out for you on Garmin Connect. It’s also preloaded with additional timed activities, including strength training and cardio, so you can work out the way you like.

Monitoring key aspects of your fitness and wellness with help from Elevate 24/7 wrist-based heart rate monitoring with the heart rate data it collects, Vívosport is able to estimate your VO2 max and fitness age, 2 indicators of physical fitness that can improve over time with regular exercise. It also tracks your HRV (heart rate variability), which is used to calculate and display your stress level. The goal is to make you aware when physical or emotional sources cause your stress level to rise so you can find a way to relieve the pressure.

So, you see, using an Activity Tracker like the Garmin Vívosport can provide you with all the data you need to make sure you're maintaining that brisk pace each and every time you go and lace up your walking shoes. And remember, it's important to wear the right kind of shoes now that you're ramping up your walking pace. But that’s going to be another topic we can cover at a later time.

While walking is a great way to improve or maintain your overall health. Just 30 minutes every day can increase cardiovascular fitness, strengthen bones, reduce excess body fat, and boost muscle power and endurance. Powerwalking is good for bones and improves the body's cardiovascular system. It also helps boost circulation. 'Power-walking - keeping a brisk pace at moderate to high intensity - can burn the same number of calories as jogging or running. So, it is useful for helping with weight loss.

So, want to live longer, healthier and maintain that mental edge that you’ve worked all your life to cultivate?

Just go out there, lace up your shoes, hit the go button on your Garmin Vívosport and go and add a few more productive years to your life!

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