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Don’t try to powerwalk your way past the Grim Reaper

Ever hear someone say something so dumb that there’s literally no sane response?

I’m not talking about politics (and don’t even get me started on that).

Even in medicine, some of the stuff you see and hear can be so jaw-droppingly stupid that the only option is to think for a minute… close your mouth… and move onto something else.

That’s how I felt when I read a new study about walking speed.

The slower you walk as you get older, the higher your risk of death.

Can’t argue with that.

And the faster you walk, the less likely you’ll meet a premature demise.

The new study finds that “normal” walkers are 20 percent less likely to croak, and high-speed walkers are 24 percent less likely to kick the bucket than slowpokes.

When it comes to heart disease and older folks, the risks are even bigger: Seniors who keep to a normal speed are 46 percent less likely to die of cardiovascular causes, and those who walk fast have a 53 percent lower risk.

Again, this isn’t controversial.

But then this thing takes a fast walk onto the dumb side.

Researchers are saying that doctors should urge people to walk faster and faster, calling this an easy way to boost your health and cut your risk, as if you can powerwalk your way past the Grim Reaper.

This is like noticing that dry houses are never destroyed by hurricanes, then urging people to keep their homes dry during a storm to prevent damage.

Sure, there’s a link between dry homes and a low risk of hurricane damage… because a dry home was never in the storm in the first place!

It’s not slow walking itself that makes you sick, weak, and dead. When people slow down dramatically, it’s a sign of something else gone wrong.

If you’re walking slowly… or are heavily winded when you try to walk… it could be a sign of heart failure or another serious condition.

A slow walk from leg pain or stiffness could be a circulatory problem. It could also be a sign of an undiagnosed chronic condition or neurodegenerative disorder, such as Parkinson’s disease.

Of course, obesity will also slow you down a bunch.

A kick in the pants to make you walk faster won’t fix any of those conditions.

What you need is a doc who can find that cause and get you patched up so you’re comfortable at any pace you choose.

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