Submitted by Jennifer Penrose for Penrose & Associates Physical Therapy

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 145 million adults include walking as part of a physically active lifestyle — with six in 10 walking for transportation, fun, relaxation, exercise, along with walking the dog.

Penrose Phyical Therapy Osteoporosis Penrose Team Photo
The team at Penrose Physical Therapy can get you walking pain free. Photo courtesy: Penrose & Associates Physical Therapy

The updated 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans says, “adults should do at least 150 minutes to 300 minutes a week of moderate-intensity, or 75 minutes to 150 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity.

There is plenty of research demonstrating that increased walking time leads to increased fitness, lower body weight and body mass index, percent body fat, and a lower systolic (top number) blood pressure.

However, walking speed is now showing to be a factor in reducing risk for diseases and overall mortality rate.  If you cannot walk fast (4.0 mph) due to pain in the feet, knee, hips or back then you really should be evaluated by a physical therapist trained in gait/walking mechanics.  Your quality of life and risk for disease and mortality rate depend upon it! 

And you would be surprised at how often we have helped people that have been in pain for years with walking.  If you have a thorough gait evaluation with slow motion video analysis play back and someone taking the time to examine your foot mobility and leg mobility and mechanics you will have answers and solutions.

Walking speed is a more important than not smoking!? Newer research in Great Britian — UK Biobank — has found that self-reported (using touch-screen questionnaires) walking pace being, “strongly associated with both all-cause and cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality; indeed, the risk associated with walking at (less than) 3 mph, compared with (greater than or equal to) 4 mph, was stronger than for smoking.”  (I still wouldn’t recommend smoking!)

The unanswered question, until now, was to determine in a large population of middle-age and older adults, if there was an association between “usual walking pace” and a range of cardiovascular, respiratory, and cancer health outcomes.

318,185 participants age forty to sixty-nine were analyzed by the UK biobank “Our findings also show that those reporting normally walking at a slow pace had higher hazard for all-cause mortality and cardiovascular disease and respiratory incident and mortality regardless the time spent walking.”

UK researchers writing, Walking Pace Is Associated with Lower Risk of All-Cause and Cause-Specific Mortality, which appears in the March issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, have determined that, “walking pace is associated with lower risk of a wide range of important health conditions, independently of overall time spent walking.”

This new research is not surprising.  If you can maintain your movement and independence you will have less chance for developing risk factors for larger health problems.

We love helping people achieve the ability to walk pain free again.  In fact just this week I have a patient that has not been able to walk pain free for 6 months and after evaluating her gait on the treadmill with slow motion video play back and evaluating her foot type and mobility we found she had a very stiff foot with a high arch.  This type of foot has a hard time absorbing impact and the wrong shoe and insert can make things worse.  However, with the correct insert and shoes and instruction in gait mechanics she is finally able to walk pain free!

We are happy to help you get back to fast walking without pain and welcome your inquiries.  Please email us at  Get outside and get that brisk walking going to decrease your overall mortality risk and decrease overall health diseases!

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