If you have heart disease you’d better pick up the pace with your walking if you want to avoid hospitalizations.
Slow walkers with heart disease are doomed to more frequent hospitalizations, says a study in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology (April 2018).
• 1,078 patients with high blood pressure.
• 85% had coronary heart disease.
• 15% had valve disease of the heart.
• Participants were asked to walk one kilometer (about a mile) on a treadmill at a speed that they perceived as medium intensity.
• Slow walking was 2.6 km/hour; medium was 3.9 km/hour; fast was 5.1 km/hour.
• 359 participants were slow walkers; 362 were intermediate; 357 were fast.
Patients were Followed for Three Years
And there were hospitalizations during those three years; the researchers recorded ALL of them, regardless of cause, and also length of hospital stay.
“We did not exclude any causes of death because walking speed has significant consequences for public health,” says Dr. Carlotta Merlo, a researcher at the University of Ferrara, Ferrara, Italy, in the report.
“Reduced walking speed is a marker of limited mobility, which is a precursor of disability, disease, and loss of autonomy,” continues Dr. Merlo in the paper.
• Slow walkers: 182 had at least one hospitalization.
• Medium walkers: 160
• Fast: 110
Average Length of Hospital Stay
• 23 for slow walkers
• 14 for intermediate
• 9 for fast
Slow walkers had a 63 percent higher likelihood of hospitalization in three years.
“The faster the walking speed, the lower the risk of hospitalisation and the shorter the length of hospital stay,” says Dr. Merlo in the paper.
“Since reduced walking speed is a marker of limited mobility, which has been linked to decreased physical activity, we assume that fast walkers in the study are also fast walkers in real life.”
Don’t let slow pokes ahead of you slow you down if there’s no room to walk past that person.
It’s perfectly okay to say “Pardon me” as you are coming up behind them.
Many people dawdle as they walk, completely unaware that there may be individuals behind them who are coming up at a faster pace and there’s no room for them to pass.
Ironically, it seems perfectly acceptable for people to become speed demons on highways, tail gaiting those going at 65 mph in a 65 mph zone – which is not safe in the least.
Are these tail gaiting speed demons, who can’t drive slower than 80 mph without being aggravated, the same people who walk like sloths and hold up faster walkers behind them?
At any rate, if you have heart disease, speed up your walking. If you don’t have heart disease, same thing: Avoid slow walking. It’s just plain bad for the body, and Dr. Merlo’s study is only one of many that have shown this.