Research suggests that fast walkers are more likely to experience heart failure than those who do not use their feet as much.

Scientists at Brown University in Rhode Island, tracked the health of 25,000 women over the age of 50, who self-reported their walking speed. 

Women who claimed to walk at an ‘average’ pace — between 2-3mph — were 27 per cent less likely to suffer heart failure than ‘casual’ walkers, classed as less than 2mph.

And women with the fastest walking pace — over 3mph — faced a 34 per cent lower risk. 

Heart failure — when the organ becomes too weak or stiff to pump blood around the body — cannot usually be cured. However, lifestyle changes and medication can help manage the condition.

Researchers found that people who walk fast may be more fit and have better cardiovascular health. This could help lower their risk of falling ill. 

The finding might be as simple as that. Walking at a slower pace, and experiencing heart failure are two possible causes of muscle-mass reduction.

Charles Eaton is the principal author of the study. He said walking pace was a sign of healthy heart function. 

Women who walk two to three miles per hour are at a 27 per cent reduced risk of being diagnosed with heart failure than those who walk less than two miles per hour, a study of more than 25,000 women aged over-50 found. Pictured: stock of older people walking

The risk of having heart failure in women who walk between two and three miles an hour is 27 percent less for those who do not walk at least two or more miles per hour. This was according to a study that included over 25,000 females aged 50+. Image: Older people walking

He stated, “This study confirms previous studies that demonstrate the importance of walking speed in reducing mortality and improving other outcomes for cardiovascular health.”

Walking faster, but for shorter periods of time may provide the same health benefits to exercise as moderate activity for 150 minutes per week.


Heart disease is when the heart becomes too weak or rigid to pump blood around.

It is most prevalent in the elderly and can affect around 900,000 Britons.

This is a chronic condition that can get worse with time. It cannot be treated, but lifestyle modifications and medications can help.

You may feel tired, have swollen legs or ankles and breathlessness when you do physical activities.

Heart failure is often the result of multiple problems affecting the heart at the same time, such as coronary heart diseases — when the arteries supplying blood to the heart become clogged — high blood pressure and cardiomyopathy — conditions affecting the heart muscle.

The most common treatments are lifestyle changes such as eating better, exercise more, quitting smoking and medication.

The study could help identify those at higher risk of heart failure — by measuring their walking pace — and who may benefit from increasing their fitness and exercise tolerance, the researchers added. 

Around 900,000.00 Britons are affected by heart failure and around 6.2 million Americans.  

The researchers found that heart failure affects approximately 48% of 60-80-year olds, and 11% of those over 80.

A database of health records containing 25,183 women 50-79 years old who had self-reported their daily walking rate was examined by the researchers. The average time participants were kept track was 17 years.

The team divided them into three groups based on their speed — casual, average and fast walkers.   

Researchers found that people who walked at an “average” pace were 27% less likely than those who did not walk as much.  

A study in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society also showed that fast-moving women were 34% less likely than those who walk casually.

The same risks were reduced when you walk for less time than an hour each week as if you walk for two hours. 

According to the researchers, some women may not be able to maintain a high pace of walking and therefore it is possible for them walk at an easier pace. 

A lower chance of developing other types of heart disease was seen when you walk faster. 

The risk of developing a heart condition, which causes the heart pump to pump less blood that it should (also known as decreased ejection fractions) was around 27% for average and fast walkers.  

Researchers believe that slow walking may play a role in reducing the risk of developing heart disease.

However, because the observational study wasn’t conclusive, researchers discovered that other lifestyle or medical factors may have contributed to the lower rates of heart failure.

It is unclear if encouraging older women walk faster will lower the chance of developing diabetes.  

But, they pointed out that their findings are supported by a UK study of 27,000 females, in which fast walkers were found to be 20% more likely to develop heart disease than those walking slowly.