Faster walkers are more likely to live longer, researchers say.
And the theory holds true regardless of body weight or obesity status.
Brisk walkers hit speeds of 3 mph — about 100 steps a minute and, in general, they will overtake most other walkers. Slow walkers trudge along at between 1 mph and 2 mph, or just 50 steps a minute. The findings were published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.
The researchers, who studied 474,919 people, found that those with a fast walking pace had a longer life expectancy across all weight categories — from underweight to morbidly obese.
Underweight individuals with a slow walking pace had the lowest life expectancy — an average of 64.8 years for men, 72.4 for women.
Lead author Tom Yates, of the University of Leicester in England, said: “The findings suggest that perhaps physical fitness is a better indicator of life expectancy than body mass index.
“Encouraging the population to engage in brisk walking may add years to their lives.”
Last year, Yates and his team showed that middle-aged people who walked slowly were at higher risk of heart-related disease.