You know when you’re on a crowded sidewalk in a hurry and the people in front aren’t, but it’s too crowded to pass and the clock is ticking on your appointment blocks away?
Well, relax now in the sick comfort that those slow-walkers holding up your life are going to pay for their pathetic pace, they’re going to die sooner than you are.
It’s true, according to a new study of healthy adults.
Researchers followed 420,727 people over a period of six years. That’s a lot of following, more than most pedestrians would care to do. The good news: They found no connection to cancer among amblers. However, slow-walkers are up to 2.4 times more likely to die of the world’s big killer, heart disease, than those people like you who walk more briskly.
It’s not so much that slow-walking causes death, as much as you might wish it at such times. It’s that slow-walking reveals an overall physical condition, in this case a poor one.
“This suggests that habitual walking pace is an independent predictor of heart-related death,” said Prof. Tom Yates, the lead researcher at the University of Leicester.
Even accounting for health factor risks like body mass index, smoking and diet, the study’s findings held true consistently for both men and women. “Self-reported walking pace,” said Yates, “could be used to identify individuals who have low physical fitness and high mortality risk.”
Heart disease, which is often associated with obesity and high blood pressure and cholesterol, is the leading cause of death in the United States and second only to dementia in Britain.
Now, someone is going to suggest that you could avoid all this walking-pace business by simply driving everywhere. There’s a 100% chance they missed the point of this study.