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Important study uncovers link between brisk walking and slowing aging

 Important study uncovers the link between brisk walking and slowing aging

Walking speed can give an indication of the likelihood of developing chronic disease or unhealthy aging

Research continues to show ways that a more active lifestyle can counteract some of the effects of aging, including cardiac damage, memory loss, and cognitive impairment.

A new study has found a correlation between walking frequency and biological age. The study used a large set of genetic data to show that those who move faster can be healthy for longer.

Walking and longevity

In 2019, researchers examined an interesting study looking at the links between walking speed and health, and showing how slower walking in the 1940s is associated with biological indicators of accelerated aging, such as a reduction in the total size of the brain. Similarly, researchers at the University of Leicester previously showed that just 10 minutes of brisk walking a day can increase an individual's life expectancy by as much as three years.

In the new study, researchers used genetic data to confirm what they say is a causal link. "While we have previously shown that walking frequency is a very strong indicator of health status, we have not been able to confirm that adopting brisk walking frequency actually leads to better health... In this study, we used information from people's genetic profiles to show that walking speed is actually likely to lead to a smaller biological life as measured by telomers, that is, the end-of-chromosome lids that protect against damage, and that is why they are the focus of much research on the effects of aging."

"When our cells divide, the telomeres shorten and the cell is ultimately prevented from dividing further, turning it into what is known as the aging cell. That is why telomere length is a useful indicator for measuring biological life."

Younger biological life

The new study analyzed genetic data from the United Kingdom Biobank on more than 400,000 middle-aged adults and compared it with information on walking speeds, which were self-reported and taken from activity tracking devices worn by participants, in one of the first studies, which examined these factors together, thus establishing a clear link between faster walking and younger biological life.

chronic disease prognosis

The researchers wrote in their paper that the difference between those who are classified as "walking fast and slow" has been one for 16 years, according to telomere length. Meanwhile, the lead researcher in the study, Dr Buddy Dempsey, said: "The findings suggest that procedures like normal slow walking speeds can be a simple way to identify those at greater risk of chronic disease or unhealthy aging, and activity intensity may play an important role in improving interventions [to improve health]."
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