05/01/2011 12:23 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Get A Move On: Faster Walkers Live Longer, Say Experts

When you're on your feet, do you like to get up a bit of speed or are you more of a slow coach? If you're a stroller rather than a racer it could be time to start picking up the pace. Why? Because according to researchers from Pittsburgh, the faster you walk, the longer you might live.

Pound the pavement as if it was a beach PA

Writing in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the researchers claim the speed to aim for is around a meter per second (that's 2.25mph). In fact, in tests involving older people, the researchers demonstrated how they could predict how long people would live based on how fast they walked.

When you think about it, that's not so far-fetched - since if you're an older person and you're not particularly healthy, there's not much chance you'll be prancing around like a spring chicken.

Apparently there are several reasons why the speed at which you walk may predict how long you'll live.

"Walking requires energy, movement control, and support, and places demands on multiple organ systems including the heart, lungs, circulatory, nervous and musculoskeletal systems," write the study's authors. "Slowing gait may reflect both damaged systems and a high energy cost of walking."

In their study, the researchers claim they're not out to get everyone walking faster, but that the speed at which someone naturally walks might provide clues as to how healthy they are and how long they'll live.

There again, walking has previously been linked with many health benefits, including protecting your memory and lowering your risk of breast cancer. So start indulging in a spot of power pacing now, and who knows, you could be a lot healthier in years to come.

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