Slow walkers 'nearly four times more likely to die from Covid-19', new study finds

Jane McGuire
·2-min read
Photo credit: Kiattisak Lamchan / EyeEm - Getty Images
Photo credit: Kiattisak Lamchan / EyeEm - Getty Images

From Runner's World

  • A new study, published in the International Journal of Obesity, concluded that people who walk slowly may be nearly four times more likely to die from Covid-19.

  • Health researchers said slow walkers with a 'normal' weight were 3.75 times more likely to die from the virus than brisk walkers.

The study looked at data from more than 400,000 middle-aged people. Lead researcher Professor Tom Yates wanted to look at whether self-reported walking pace could be used to predict whether someone was at higher risk from the virus.

The study was run by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Leicester Biomedical Research Centre, using self-reported data from 412,596 people. For the study, slow walking was considered to be at a speed of less than three miles per hour. A steady/average speed was three to four miles per hour, and a brisk pace was more than four miles per hour.

The study found that slow walkers were also 2.5 times more likely to develop severe Covid-19 than faster walkers. The risk was uniformly high in normal weight slow walkers and slow walkers with obesity.

That said, it's important to note that researchers highlighted that this self-reporting manner of collecting data is possible to reporting bias, therefore no definitive conclusions could be derived from the results.

Speaking of the study, Professor Yates, a specialist in physical activity, sedentary behaviour and health at the University of Leicester, said, 'We know already that obesity and frailty are key risk factors for Covid-19 outcomes.

'This is the first study to show that slow walkers have a much higher risk of contracting severe Covid-19 outcomes, irrespective of their weight.

'Ongoing public health and research surveillance studies should consider incorporating simple measures of physical fitness such as self-reported walking pace in addition to BMI, as potential risk predictors of Covid-19 outcomes.'

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