Risk for Heart Failure Cut With Faster Walking Speed

Older women who walk at an average or fast pace have lower risk for heart failure versus slower walkers

HealthDay News — Walking pace is inversely associated with the risks for heart failure, according to a study published online Jan. 20 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Moafi-Madani Miremad, M.D., from Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, and colleagues investigated the association between self-reported walking pace and the risk for heart failure. The analysis included 25,183 postmenopausal women (aged 50 to 79 years) participating in the Women’s Health Initiative cohort (1993 to 1998).

During a median 16.9 years of follow-up, the researchers found a strong inverse association between walking pace and the overall risk for heart failure (hazard ratio, 0.73 for average [2 to 3 mph] versus casual walking [<2 mph]; hazard ratio, 0.66 for fast walking [>3 mph] versus casual walking). The risk for heart failure was similar for fast walking with less than one hour/week walking duration and for casual and average walkers with more than two hours/week walking duration.

“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 as the recommended 150 minutes per week of moderate physical activity,” a coauthor said in a statement.

Abstract/Full Text