A brisk walk instead of a casual stroll can cut a woman’s heart failure risk buy a THIRD, research suggests
Walking briskly instead of dawdling could reduce the risk of suffering heart failure by a third for older women.
There are 60,000 cases of heart failure a year in the UK and the long-term condition can severely limit everyday activities as it causes severe fatigue and breathlessness.
Now a study has found that post-menopausal women who walk fast are much less likely to develop the condition.
Researchers looked at more than 25,000 women aged 50 to 79, who were followed up for an average of almost 17 years.
Brisk walks have been found to correlate with a lower chance of developing heart failure
During this time, 1,455 of them developed heart failure, meaning the organ can no longer pump blood around the body properly.
The women had previously answered a questionnaire on whether they walked casually at less than two miles per hour, at the average speed of two to three miles per hour, or fast at more than three miles per hour. Those who walked fast, compared to casually, were found to be 34 per cent less likely to develop heart failure.
Dr Charles Eaton, senior author of the study from Brown University in the US, said it ‘confirms other studies demonstrating the importance of walking speed on mortality and other cardiovascular outcomes’.
The study also found post-menopausal women who walked at an average pace were 27 per cent less likely to develop the condition
He added: ‘Given that limited time for exercise is frequently given as a barrier to regular physical activity, walking faster but for less time might provide similar health benefits to the recommended 150 minutes per week of moderate physical activity.’
The study, published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, also found post-menopausal women who walked at an average pace, rather than a slower casual pace, were 27 per cent less likely to develop the condition.
This was the case even when other factors raising their risk of heart failure, like their weight and alcohol consumption, were taken into account.
Walking slowly can be a sign of frailty and loss of muscle, which are both linked to poor health in later life.