How fast should you walk to stay healthy, and live longer? It’s a question you might have asked yourself, but it seems that we now have the answer. The other day a group of Aussie scientists announced that if you want to outwit death, you need to walk at a pace of at least 3mph/5kph. Theory was that in the group of 70 year olds they studied, those who walked slower than this (2mph/3kph) were more likely to have shuffled (quite literally it seems) off this mortal coil than faster walkers at the end of the five year trial.
Whether walking faster helped people live longer by strengthening their heart and lungs, whether slow walkers couldn’t walk quickly because they were generally in worse health anyway, or whether the Grim Reaper really does need to work on his fitness so he can grab people moving over 2mph I’m not sure, but just in case, here’s the helpful bit.
Most humans don’t come equipped with speedometers that tell you how fast you’re walking, therefore it’ll help you keep pace if you know that 3 mph equates to 120 steps per minute (easiest way to count that without developing insanity is to aim for 12 steps per 6 seconds). That also works out the same as keeping in time to music of around 120 beats per minute which you can do by pacing along to Teenage Dream by Katy Perry, Empire by Kasabian or, Gimme Gimme Gimme by Abba. If none of those suit your musical taste, or you’d like to walk for more than about eight minutes without repeating yourself, find more bpm specific suggestions at jogtunes
Oh and one final tip, 3mph is actually relatively speedy and the queen of walking for fitness, Joanna Hall once explained to me that if you’re trying to increase pace rather than trying to speed up from your legs, which can put excess pressure on your knees, it’s better to focus on the speed and power of your arms. Move them faster and harder and your legs will come too.