Fitness Friday: Brisk Walking Can Slow The Aging Process

Brisk walking can slow the aging process. Golfers shown here with Big Max trolleys and bags.
Brisk walking can slow the aging process. Golfers shown here with Big Max trolleys and bags.

Brisk Walking Can Slow The Aging Process

Here’s a reason to walk when you play golf — and to do so quickly:

Researchers at the University of Leicester have found “that as little as 10 minutes of brisk walking a day is associated with longer life expectancy, and that brisk walkers have up to 20 years’ greater life expectancy compared to slow walkers.”

I generally can walk a round of golf in three hours, so I likely count as a fast walker.

In their study of 405,981 adults in the United Kingdom, the researchers found that brisk walking was associated with longer telomeres. Those are the “caps” at the end of each chromosome that keeps them from unraveling.

The unraveling of the chromosomes are related to age related symptoms such as frailty.

Importantly, the study demonstrates a causal link between brisk walking and telomere length, but significantly, not the other way around. That is, longer telomere length does not result in brisk walking; brisk walking results in longer telomeres.

Lead author Dr. Paddy Dempsey wrote:

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.

“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 ageing, and that activity intensity may play an important role in optimising interventions.

If you don’t already walk your rounds of golf, give it a try. You don’t have to carry. I walk nearly every round with a trolley / push cart. It’s also important to wear a good pair of walking golf shoes.

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