Older men should walk a brisk pace if they want to stay alive

Outpace the Grim Reaper

When you see the words “Grim Reaper” amongst the relatively dry studies that appear in medical journals, let me tell you, it gets your attention.

Around Christmas, a group of Australian researchers published a study titled “How fast does the Grim Reaper walk?” in the British Medical Journal. And their message rang loud and clear: Older men should walk a brisk pace if they want to stay alive.

The researchers analyzed data from Concord Health and Ageing in Men Project (CHAMP), a study of over 1,700 men over the age of 70 living in several inner city suburbs of Sydney, Australia.

At the study’s outset, each man’s walking pace was measured. Five years later, researchers checked on them and found that 266 men had died. They compared the walking pace of the men who died vs. the survivors.

Turns out, the fast-walkers were the survivors. The slow-walkers simply couldn’t “out-pace the Grim Reaper,” the researchers reported.

So what’s a “brisk walk”? According to this study, it’s 3 miles per hour. I won’t make you track your pace, but I do encourage you to simply pick up the pace.