Walking Faster Linked to Longer, Healthier Life
Short on time? No problem. Just pick up the pace, new research suggests.
Welcome to the first issue of Age Wise, my Substack newsletter exploring the science of aging and longevity with an emphasis on physical health and mental wellness at every stage of life. No matter how old you are, it’s never too soon nor too late to make science-backed behavior and lifestyle changes to improve your well-being and boost your chances for hanging around a while. Expect weekly updates, with concise summaries and links to learn more.
Here we go…
New research reveals benefits to heart health from walking at a faster-than-normal pace. Scientists followed 25,000 women, ages 50 to 79, for 17 years. The findings:
Women who walk at an average pace, about two to three mph, are 27% less likely to have heart failure than those who walk slower.
Women who keep a fast pace — defined as greater than three mph — have a 34% lower risk of heart failure than the slowpokes.
Fast walking for less than one hour per week offers the same risk reduction as walking at average speed for more than two hours.
Bottom line: The findings, which the study leader tells me should apply to men, too, add to much other research showing that a simple walk in the park, or around the block—and especially if done at a brick pace—boosts physical health and mental well-being and ups the chances of living several years longer.
Why You Should Not Fear Aging
You can’t prevent aging, but your well-being later in life, and even how long you live, may depend on whether you fear getting older, and the mental and physical stress that comes with such a negative mindset.
A new study tackles a piece of this research puzzle, finding that dwelling on the prospects of aches, pains, and mental challenges that may (or may not) come with age presages those very outcomes. The self-fulfilling prophecy can be exacerbated by a reduced ability to handle stress, which can make physical and mental woes worse.
Bottom line: The sooner you shun negative stereotypes about aging and embrace what’s to come, the more likely you’ll live a long and healthy life.
Happiness Takes a Beating
For the first time since the General Social Survey began surveying happiness in America, more people say they are “not happy” than “very happy.”
“The very-happies plummeted from 31 percent of the population in 2018 down to 19, while the not-too-happies surged by a nearly identical amount, from 13 to 24 percent.”
Surprised? I’m not. The pandemic has taken its toll in many ways, and happiness is just one of the things it has stolen from a whole lot of folks.
Mental Health Discussions Still Taboo at Work
While we’re all speaking more freely about our messed-up minds these days, fessing up to mental-health issues at work can still be terrifying.
"Even though depression is the leading cause of disability in the world, it still isn’t viewed or treated the same in the workplace as any other disability."
I’ve been down the road, or rather up the corporate ladder, on which stress and anxiety pile up to the point that a normal human just can’t take it anymore. IMO, it's time for employees to demand time off to preserve and protect mental health, for all of us the have more empathy to the challenges of burnout, anxiety and depression, and for employers to give a hoot.