New Study Finds Fast Walking May Reduce Health Risks
Recent research has shown that fast walking may be an effective way to drastically reduce risks of developing heart disease or diabetes. A number of studies have indicated that walking fast for about half an hour a day can be a great way to improve overall health. However, most of those studies focused on the time spent walking. A new study from Copenhagen, Denmark had a different objective and focused on how increasing the intensity of brisk walking could affect heart health and reduce the prognosis for developing diabetes.
The study found that people who walked quickly 2-4 hours a week were at high risk of developing diabetes or heart disease compared to people who were more likely to participate in more intensive forms of exercise. However, the study also found that people who walked more casually 7 hours a week had the same prognosis for developing either of the conditions.
The researchers tracked more than 10,000 adults from Copenhagen. At the beginning of the study, 20% of the women and a little over 25% of them were at moderate to high risk of developing diabetes or heart disease. About a third of both men and women who were classified as being at risk were inactive. Only about 10% of those who were classified as being at high risk were extremely physically active.
About 15% of the subjects who were not classified as being at high risk at the beginning of the study developed risk factors after 10 years. Researchers said that the people who reported they were active were much less likely to develop the risk factors. Participants who participated in brisk walking on a regular basis were also much less likely to develop the condition.
Although the results were compelling, the study did have some limitations as well. One of the problems with the study was that it relied on reported data from most customers. Many researchers feel that tracking physical activity of participants is a better way to receive accurate data.
Another shortcoming with this study is that the study didn’t factor for other variables, such as participants’ diets. This makes it more difficult to determine whether brisk walking reduces the risk of developing heart disease and diabetes or if it is just a correlating factor.
Neeru Jayanthi said the study shows that people need to focus on intensity more than duration of physical activity. Many experts have started arguing the same point and the Copenhagen study is likely to give their positions more credibility. However, not all experts agree with these claims. Additional research will need to be conducted to better understand the relationship.
Regardless of the findings of this study, most health professionals encourage their patients to be as active as possible to increase their overall health.