UK researchers find that walking fast will let people live 16 years longer because brisk walking will result in longer telomeres.
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According to a new study, taking a brisk stroll can help you live 16 years longer. Researchers from the University of Leicester established a correlation between a person’s walking speed and their age.
Longer telomeres are the result of a lifetime of brisk walking. These are the protective “caps” on the ends of your chromosomes like plastic tabs on your shoelaces. Telomeres perform an important function in keeping DNA stable, despite the fact that they do not carry genetic information.
These end caps are used by scientists to calculate a person’s biological age. In terms of biological age, the longer the telomeres, the younger they are in which is different from the terms of chronological age.
Scientists discovered that a faster walking pace throughout life could result in a person being 16 years younger biologically by the time they reach midlife, according to an analysis of nearly 400,000 British people from the UK Biobank. Importantly, regardless of how much physical exercise a person does, brisk walking alone results in longer telomeres, according to the researchers.
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Walking faster may also prevent disease
Telomeres shorten each time a cell divides, according to researchers. Telomeres shorten to the point that the cell can no longer divide. Although the exact link between telomere length and disease is unknown, scientists believe that the accumulation of senescent (ageing and dying) cells contributes to the development of age-related disorders and frailty.
Walking has been found to provide physical, mental, and social benefits in previous studies. However, according to the researchers, this is the first time that walking speed has been compared to genetic data linked to lifespan.
Dr. Paddy Dempsey, the study’s lead author, stated in a university press statement, “Previous research on associations between walking pace, physical activity and telomere length has been limited by inconsistent findings and a lack of high-quality data.”
“This research uses genetic data to provide stronger evidence for a causal link between faster walking pace and longer telomere length. Data from wrist-worn wearable activity tracking devices used to measure habitual physical activity also supported a stronger role of habitual activity intensity (e.g. faster walking) in relation to telomere length,” added Dr. Dempsey who is also a lecturer and research fellow at the University of Leicester.
“This suggests measures such as a habitually slower walking speed are a simple way of identifying people at greater risk of chronic disease or unhealthy aging, and that activity intensity may play an important role in optimizing interventions. For example, in addition to increasing overall walking, those who are able could aim to increase the number of steps completed in a given time (e.g. by walking faster to the bus stop). However, this requires further investigation.”
A quick walk around the block could add decades to your life!
Researchers from Leicester previously discovered that as little as 10 minutes of brisk walking each day can help you live longer. These people lived up to 20 years longer than their slower walking counterparts.
The researchers in this study discovered no link between walking slower and telomere length shortening.
“Whilst we have previously shown that walking pace is a very strong predictor of health status, we have not been able to confirm that adopting a brisk walking pace actually causes better health. In this study we used information contained in people’s genetic profile to show that a faster walking pace is indeed likely to lead to a younger biological age as measured by telomeres ,” says Tom Yates, senior author and University of Leicester Professor of Physical Activity, Sedentary Behavior, and Health.
The findings of the study have been published in the journal Communications Biology (pdf below).
The study is given below: