Increase Average Walking Speed with More “STEPS”

Increase Average Walking Speed with More “STEPS”
A Powerful Indicator of Life Expectancy

Do you want to live longer? Enjoy a healthier and more productive life? Save money and feel better than you have in your entire life? If so keep reading.

New research has revealed that average walking speed can be a very useful indicator of life expectancy and as you’ll learn, there are five specific steps you can take to increase your average walking speed.

Average Walking Speed Predicts Life Expectancy of Older Adults

Average walking speed is a powerful indicator of vitality:

  • Average walking speed studies shows that an older person’s pace, along with their age and gender, can predict their life expectancy just as well as the complex battery of other health indicators such as blood pressure, body mass index, chronic conditions, and smoking history.

  • The analysis published in JAMA, The Journal of the American Medical Association, found that average walking speed turned out to be a consistent predictor of survival length across age, race and height categories, but it was especially useful in zeroing in on life expectancy for those who still live and get around independently and for those older than 75.

  • Based on these studies, it’s important to track a person’s average walking speed over time

  • By tracking your average walking speed, you will be more aware of hidden health problems if you suddenly start to slow down your pace.

    • If you feel well, yet you’ve slowed down, then there may be an underlying problem.

    • The quicker you get it resolved, the less time consuming and expensive the treatment will be.

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Increase Life Expectancy

Average walking speed is a powerful indicator of life expectancy.

Older adults that were able to walk 2.25 miles per hour or faster consistently lived longer than others within their age group.

Very simply put, a person’s capacity to move strongly reflects their health and vitality.

The average walking speed for a person with the typical life expectancy was 1.8 mph for most older age groups and sexes.

For people over 75 years of age, average walking speed could be considered as important a vital sign as blood pressure and heart rate.

“The way we walk and how quickly we can walk depends on our energy, movement control, and coordination, which, in turn, requires the proper functioning of multiple body systems, including the cardiovascular, nervous and musculoskeletal systems” that’s according to Dr. Stephanie Studenski, a professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh. “Because of this, researchers have associated walking speed with health in the past.”

How to Increase Average Walking Speed, Think More “S.T.E.P.S”!

Having this simple mental device to remind you of what you need to do will get you moving quickly with just a little practice. On your next walk keep “STEPS” in mind as you take each step.

  1. Shorter quicker strides

    • Turnover rate is the key to quicker walking. The more steps you take per minute, the quicker you will walk. Think of a car’s piston pumping up and down quickly. You may think that a longer stride would help you walk faster but this is not the case. Increasing your stride puts your legs in an outstretched position which acts as a break. If you walk with music playing, choose songs with different beats per minute then match your steps to the beat. Shorter is better.

  2. Toes propel you forward

    • Push off of the toes of your back foot, which propels you forward for your next step.

  3. Engage your core and glutes

    • Squeeze your glutes and engage your core to support your spine. Strong core muscles; the abdominal muscles, back muscles, and your butt muscles or gluteus maximus are essential to keeping your balance and walking well

  4. Posture

    • Keep your body straight and your head up. This expands the chest cavity and increases your oxygen intake by more than 30 percent. Also, keep your eyes up ahead to help quicken your pace. Use your peripheral vision to watch where your feet will plant on the ground.

  5. Swing your arms quickly

  • An easy way to quicken your walking speed is to quicken the speed at which your arms swing back and forth. If you focus on your arms, your legs will naturally follow without the urge to lengthen your stride. Keep your arms bent and swing them back and forth in a quick and compact motion to increase momentum. Your shoulders should be relaxed and down.

During each walk, keep STEPS in mind. Pick a point in the distance and consciously apply the STEPS in reaching the point. Keep your focus on each of the 5 aspects of STEPS. Eventually, as your body adjusts to the quicker pace, you will just naturally move faster and with more “pep in your step”!

Why You Should “Step up” Your Average Walking Speed

Cost of Various Health Issues:

STEP up your average walking speed.

STEP up your average walking speed.

According to a study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, and a study published in The Lancet concluded a person that exercises five times per week paid $2,500 less in annual health care expenses related to heart disease than someone who did not walk or otherwise move for 30 minutes per day five times per week!

As you’ll later see, the cost of most preventable diseases is staggering

Doctor’s visits, prescriptions, lost time at work and the lost quality of life due to preventable illness all add up to a significant sum of time and money.

Look at your time and effort spent walking as an investment in yourself. What could be better than that! Your health, happiness, and life depend on it!

Cost of Heart Disease:

Together, heart disease and stroke are among the most widespread and costly health problems facing the nation today. On a personal level, families who experience heart disease or stroke have to deal with not only medical bills but also lost wages and the real potential of a decreased standard of living.

  • Heart Disease and Stroke Cost America Nearly $1 Billion A Day In Medical Costs, Lost Productivity

  • Heart disease and stroke cost the nation an estimated $316.6 billion in health care costs and lost productivity in 2016.

  • Approximately 1.5 million heart attacks and strokes occur every year in the United States.

  • More than 800,000 people in the United States die from cardiovascular disease each year—that's 1 in every 3 deaths, and about 160,000 of them occur in people under age 65.

  • Heart disease kills roughly the same number of people in the United States each year as cancer, lower respiratory diseases (including pneumonia), and accidents combined.

  • Cardiovascular disease is largely preventable!

Cost of Cancer

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Walking Benefit

Drive down you health care costs.

  • For patients and their families, the costs associated with direct cancer care are staggering.

  • In 2014 cancer patients paid nearly $4 billion out-of-pocket for cancer treatments.

  • Cancer also represents a significant proportion of total U.S. health care spending.

  • Roughly $87.8 billion was spent in 2014 in the U.S. on cancer-related health care.3

  • Employers, insurance companies, and taxpayer-funded public programs like Medicare and Medicaid, as well as cancer patients and their families, paid these costs.

Cost of Diabetes:

  • People with diagnosed diabetes incur average medical expenditures of about $13,700 per year, of which about

  • $7,900 is attributed to diabetes.

  • People with diagnosed diabetes, on average, have medical expenditures approximately 2.3 times higher than what expenditures would be in the absence of diabetes.

Cost of Being Overweight

  • Overweight and obesity are known to increase blood pressure.

    • High blood pressure is the leading cause of strokes.

    • Excess weight also increases your chances of developing other problems linked to strokes, including high cholesterol, high blood sugar, and heart disease.

  • Obesity is one of the biggest drivers of preventable chronic diseases and healthcare costs in the United States.

  • Currently, estimates for these costs range from $147 billion to nearly $210 billion per year.

  • In addition, obesity is associated with job absenteeism, costing approximately $4.3 billion annually

  • Obesity causes lower productivity while at work, costing employers $506 per obese worker per year.

Health Care Costs Steadily Increase with Body Mass

Researchers at Duke Medicine are giving people another reason to lose weight in the New Year: obesity-related illnesses are expensive.

According to a study published in the journal Obesity, health care costs increase in parallel with body mass measurements, even beginning at a recommended healthy weight.

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Control Your Weight

Walking for Health and Fitness

The researchers found that costs associated with medical and drug claims rose gradually with each unit increase in body mass index (BMI). Notably, these increases began above a BMI of 19, which falls in the lower range of the healthy BMI category.

"Our findings suggest that excess fat is detrimental at any level," said lead author Truls Østbye, M.D., Ph.D., professor of community and family medicine at Duke and professor of health services and systems research at the Duke-National University of Singapore.

While this is a community-based study, think about how much money you have saved by walking… $5.60 for every $1 invested! That’s a return on investment that Warren Buffet wouldn’t pass on!

A 2008 study by the Urban Institute, The New York Academy of Medicine and TFAH found that an investment of $10 per person in proven community-based programs to increase physical activity, improve nutrition and prevent smoking and other tobacco use could save the country more than $16 billion annually within five years.

That's a return of $5.60 for every $1 invested.

Out of the $16 billion, Medicare could save more than $5 billion and Medicaid could save more than $1.9 billion. Also, expanding the use of prevention programs would better inform the most effective, strategic public and private investments that yield the strongest results.

Cost of Back Pain

Low back pain (LBP) has a major economic impact in the United States, with total costs related to this condition exceeding $100 billion per year. -Journal of the American Osteopathic Association

An analysis by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) on United States (US) health care spending, revealed that low back and neck pain accounted for the third highest amount of spending at $87.6 billion (US Spending on Personal Health Care and Public Health, 1996-2013 - December 27, 2016).

Cost of Back Pain and Related Issues

The cost of treatment for patients with low back pain (LBP) has a major economic impact worldwide. In the United States, patients with musculoskeletal conditions incur total annual medical care costs of approximately $240 billion, of which $77 billion is related to musculoskeletal conditions.

According to a 2006 review, total costs associated with LBP in the United States exceed $100 billion per year, two-thirds of which are a result of lost wages and reduced productivity.

How Walking Benefits Back Pain Sufferers

Walking is a much lower impact activity than running. Most back pain is relieved with walking and you can enjoy other great benefits as well.

By adopting a regular walking routine you will strengthen your hips, legs, ankles, and feet as well as your core.

This helps to provide better stability for your spine. It also helps to increase circulation in the spinal structures, draining toxins, and pumping nutrients into the surrounding soft tissues.

Pain often restricts mobility. Walking helps to improve range of motion and flexibility. You will find that your posture improves as well as your mood.

A stronger body and increased flexibility help to prevent injury.

Walking at least three times a week for at least 30 minutes is great for overall wellness and a strong body. Combine it with a healthy diet and stress relief techniques and you will look, feel, and move better – and your pain will be easier to manage.

Cost of Arthritis

The total costs for arthritis in the U.S. may exceed 2% of the country's gross domestic product!

  • Arthritis is the leading cause of disability in the United States, limiting everyday activities for more than 7 million Americans.

  • In many cases, arthritis deprives individuals of their independence and disrupts the lives of family members and other caregivers.

  • In addition, disabilities from arthritis create enormous costs for individuals, their families, and the nation.

  • Each year, arthritis results in 44 million outpatient visits and almost three-quarters of a million hospitalizations.

  • Estimated medical care costs for people with arthritis are $15 billion annually, and total costs (medical care and lost productivity) are estimated at almost $65 billion annually.

Walking helps ease the effects of arthritis as it increases strength and flexibility, reduces joint pain, and helps combat fatigue.

Cost of Alzheimer’s and Other Dementias

In 2017 the cost to the nation will be $259 billion dollars.

35% of caregivers for people with Alzheimer’s and other dementia reported that their health has gotten worse due to the responsibilities of providing care.

Please take note, 1 in 3 senior’s dies with Alzheimer’s or other dementia.

Regular physical activity has many benefits for people with Alzheimer's disease.

Exercise helps keep muscles, joints, and the heart in good shape. It also helps people stay at a healthy weight and can improve sleep.

If the Walking for Health and Fitness program saves you from having to make just one trip to the doctor this year it will more than pay back the cost of the eBook and the related Walking for Health and Fitness Complete Program.

Let me repeat that… if the Walking for Health and Fitness program saves you from having to make just one trip to the doctor this year it will more than pay back the cost of this program!

Benefits of Walking

There’s no question that walking is good for you. Walking is an aerobic exercise, which stimulates and strengthens the heart and lungs, thereby improving the body’s utilization of oxygen.

  • Walking is an aerobic exercise, which stimulates and strengthens the heart and lungs, thereby improving the body’s utilization of oxygen…

  • Walking for 2.5 hours a week—that’s just 21 minutes a day—can cut your risk of heart disease by 30%. In addition, this do-anywhere, no-equipment-required activity has also been shown to reduce the risk of diabetes and cancer, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and keep you mentally sharp. In fact, according to some estimates, walking regularly could save Americans over $100 billion a year in health care costs. Even a quick one-minute jaunt pays off. A University of Utah study in 2014 found that for every minute of brisk walking that women did throughout the day, they lowered their risk of obesity by 5%. No more “I don’t have time” excuses!

Read More at my very first blog post: Walking for Health and Fitness.

Your Next Step:

  1. Test your average walking speed

    • Time/Distance Measurement.

    • How far can you walk in 10 minutes?

    • Start your watch, begin walking, then note where you have stopped after 10 minutes.

    • Time yourself over the same route once per month.

    • You will be pleasantly surprised each time you complete this exercise!

  2. Take More “STEPS” to increase your average walking speed

    • Shorter stride

    • Toes propel you forward

    • Engage your core and glutes

    • Posture is upright

    • Swing your arms quicker

Begin walking! It’s really that simple. Go outside, and put one foot in front of the other. If you can only walk to the end of your block, great! You’ve made a start to a healthier you.

Tomorrow, try to walk at least 1 step further than today. Going forward you just have to keep the same mindset…I’ll walk at least 1 step further than yesterday.

You can also aim for a set period of time. Start out walking for 5 minutes. The next day aim for 7 minutes. You get the idea.

An Amazing Process of Transformation Begins to Take Place

You will begin to feel good! It will begin slowly at first than rather quickly, your body will begin to “feel, good! You literally feel your body getting into physical condition. You won’t be sore, you’ll just feel like your muscles have been used and trust me, you’ll want this feeling to continue. Soon, you will find that your average walking speed has increased as you become more fit.

The second transformation will be your mental state. You’ll begin to think more clearly, you’ll be calmer, and your problem-solving skills will suddenly kick into overdrive.

Try this out sometime; before you go out on your next walk, think of a problem you are having. For example, I open my iPhone and create a new note on my Notes app. I dictate the problem at the top of the page then…I do nothing. I just walk, enjoy my surroundings, enjoy the feeling of motion, and enjoy the sense of accomplishing something.

Then, suddenly, my mind will drift over to that problem I put down on Notes. When I’m walking, I find my mind just randomly goes someplace other than where I am walking, and in this state, I begin to see solutions to problems I am having.

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Start Right Now

Get out and begin walking today!

I can’t explain it other than I see the problem differently and when this begins the solutions come quickly. And one other thing. Most times the solution comes to me near the very end of my walk!

You must decide right now not to become a statistic. You have it within yourself to take control of your health!

Begin walking, walk for a longer period of time, and gradually increase your average walking speed over time.

Do not waste another second in ill health.

Take a break from reading and get out and walk somewhere right now!

A simple stroll around the block will get you moving in the right direction. Don’t become a statistic.

Walk on,
Frank

PS For more information on walking benefits and how to begin a walking program, check out my eBook, Walking for Health and Fitness.

Also, add your name to my email list and receive my exclusive Walking Inspiration Newsletter. This quarterly publication was created for anyone interested in the walking lifestyle and serves as a guide, instruction manual, and motivational tool to the you to increase your average walking speed. The newsletter is exclusively offered to Walking for Health and Fitness list members.