How you walk may double your chance of a heart attack

Traditionally, doctors measure your blood pressure, cholesterol levels, body mass index and blood sugar to see how your heart’s doing. They also ask about your diet, exercise habits, family history and whether you’re a smoker.

These are all important pieces of the heart health puzzle. But there’s another simple way to gauge your heart attack risk that doesn’t involve a trip to your doctor’s office… just a few minutes spent observing your body.

Here’s what you need to do…

Put on your gym shoes and go for a walk around the block. Walk at your natural pace, and pay attention to how slow or fast you walk (if you have a hard time telling whether you’re a fast or slow walker, plan a walk with friends and family members to see whether you’re leading the pack or picking up the rear).

Once you figure out where you fall on the speed walking scale, you’ll have a better idea of how likely you are to die of heart disease. Unfortunately, if you’re a slow walker, you won’t be happy with what you learn…

Slow walkers may succumb to heart disease

Researchers from the National Institute for Health Research Leicester Biomedical Research Centre in the UK determined that walking pace is a simple yet accurate predictor of your heart attack risk.

They analyzed data on 420,727 healthy middle-age adults and determined that those who said they were slow walkers had more than double the risk of heart-related death than those who said they were brisk walkers.

And, in case you’re wondering, this increased risk of dying from heart disease wasn’t related to any other risk factors, like smoking, body mass index, diet or watching too much TV. Researchers made sure of it. So that means one thing… your usual walking pace is a strong, independent predictor of whether you’ll succumb to a heart-related death.

It’s amazing that an easily observable trait like walking pace can tell you so much about your heart health. But it also makes perfect sense, because how fast you walk is tied to your exercise tolerance and overall physical health.

Picking up the pace on your walks

Now, if you’re a slow walker, you may be feeling discouraged. But cheer up. There’s something you can do to reclaim your heart health right now…

Increase your walking speed.

It’s not as hard as it sounds. How fast you walk isn’t an ingrained, genetic trait like being a righty or a lefty. It’s based on your physical fitness level — something you can influence significantly through lifestyle changes. In fact, increasing your walking speed is a great overall fitness goal.

There are several surefire methods you can use to go from a slow walker to a brisk one. Here are a few of the best:

  • Walk daily. Whoever said practice makes perfect wasn’t kidding. The only way to become a better, faster walker is to put in the time. Try to walk for at least 20 minutes a day. Of course, it’s better to take a short walk than to get no walk at all, so on extra busy days do whatever you can squeeze in.
  • Pay attention to your posture. While you walk, stand tall and hold your head level. Keep shoulders relaxed and back straight. Good posture will help you keep up a quick pace.
  • Use momentum in your favor. There’s a reason power walkers always swing their arms as they walk. It gives them momentum. So get your arms involved when you walk and swivel your hips from side to side too.
  • Take small steps. This advice sounds counter-intuitive, but it turns out, taking big strides slows you down. Small strides win the race, at least when it comes to walking.
  • Watch how you land. Pay attention to how your foot hits the ground. If you can, hit the ground with your heels down and your toes up.
  • Keep track of your time. Start timing yourself to see how your walking pace improves over time. Walking a mile in 15 minutes is considered a brisk walk. That should be your goal. If you want to challenge yourself even more, shoot for a 12-minute mile. Then you’ll be a true speed walker with stellar heart health.

Editor’s note: There are many safe, easy inexpensive and natural steps you can take, right now, to dramatically reduce your risk of heart disease and heart attack — and you can discover them in: A Doctor’s Treasury of Hushed Up Natural Heart Cures and Deadly Deceptions of Popular Heart Treatments. Click here to get it today!


  1. Study shows slow walking pace is good predictor of heart-related deaths.” — MedicalXpress. Retrieved August 29, 2017.
  2. Speed Up Your Walking.” — Berkley Wellness- University of California. Retrieved August 29, 2017.
Jenny Smiechowski

By Jenny Smiechowski

Jenny Smiechowski is a Chicago-based freelance writer who specializes in health, nutrition and the environment. Her work has appeared in online and print publications like Chicagoland Gardening magazine, Organic Lifestyle Magazine, BetterLife Magazine,, and