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Scientists suggest increase walking speeds and outrun the Grim Reaper

Saturday, December 24, 2011 by: Amelia Bentrup
Tags: walking, longevity, exercise

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(NaturalNews) Walk faster to stay one step ahead of Death, according to recent research published in the Christmas edition of BMJ. (During Christmas, this normally formal publication publishes more unconventional articles.) A team of scientists from various schools, hospitals and medical institutions located in Sydney, Australia collaborated to determine the maximum walking pace of the Grim Reaper and the speed necessary to outpace him.

Since the Grim Reaper himself was unavailable for participation in this study, the scientists measured the walking speed and mortality of 1,705 men over age 70 and used receiver operating characteristic curve analysis to estimate the preferred walking pace of the Grim Reaper. Results showed that men who walked faster were less likely to die. It was estimated that the Grim Reaper walks at a rate of approximately 1.8 miles per hour. None of the men who walked at a speed of 3 miles/hour or greater met with Death during the time frame of the study; therefore, the scientists concluded that a walking pace greater than 3 miles/hour is optimal for outrunning Death.

The researchers used data from the Concord Health and Aging in Men Project, which is a study consisting of men over the age of 70 in Sydney, Australia. The researchers used a stopwatch to determine the time it took each participant to walk approximately 20 feet, using the fastest speed of two trials and adjusting walking speed for height. The men were then followed up with by telephone at 4 months intervals and with visits to the clinic at 2 and 5 years after the trial was completed.

It was found that men who walked at speeds greater than 2 miles per hour were 1.23 times less likely to die, while all 22 of the participants who walked at a pace of 3 miles per hour were still alive at the 5-year follow-up. The researchers conclude that "faster speeds are protective against mortality because fast walkers can maintain a safe distance from the Grim Reaper."

Other scientific studies have also shown the correlation between walking speed and mortality. A 2011 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association examined the relationship between gait speed and survival by pooling the analyses completed for 9 different studies around this topic. It was found that survival increased across the full range of gait speeds. A 2008 study published in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society found that a slower gait was associated with a significantly greater risk of mortality and incident disability. A 2005 study, also published in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society, showed that a gait speed of less than 1 meter/second can be used to identify high-risk individuals for health-related events.

How to Stay Active in Older Age

Keeping up one's fitness level is especially important as one ages. It is likely that gait speed is highly correlated to overall fitness activity and levels. Continuing physical activity is important for maintaining strength, endurance, flexibility and balance. Swimming, walking, hiking, water aerobics and cycling are excellent aerobic activities and provide cardiovascular benefits. Strength training can be accomplished using stretching and resistance machines while exercises such as pilates and tai chi are excellent for improving balance.

No matter what physical activity one chooses, staying active is vital for maintaining a quick step...which is necessary for keeping ahead of the Grim Reaper and his Deathly touch.

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About the author:
Amelia Bentrup is the owner and editor of http://www.my-home-remedies.com a well-researched collection of natural home remedies. Discover natural cures for a variety of ailments and find specific information and safety guidelines for various herbs, vitamins, minerals and essential oils.

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