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People Who Walk This Way Are 4x More Likely to Die of COVID Says Study

You might want to pick up the pace.
FACT CHECKED BY Alek Korab
Retired couple walking in a park under quarantine during coronavirus outbreak

Since the start of the pandemic, health experts have linked increased risk of death and severe infection from COVID-19 to a number of conditions, ranging from blood type and weight to gender and age. Now, a new study published in the International Journal of Obesity has found a link between walking pace and COVID-19 mortality. Read on to find out what type of walkers are more prone to COVID death—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus

Those Who Walk Slow Were Found to be At Risk, Says Study

According to a team of researchers from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Leicester Biomedical Research Centre led by Professor Tom Yates at the University of Leicester, slow walkers are over twice as likely to suffer a severe version of the virus and nearly four times more likely to die. Specifically, they found that those with a normal BMI who identified as slow walkers were almost 2.5 times more likely to develop severe COVID-19 and 3.75 times more likely to die from the virus than normal weight fast walkers.

"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," Yates explained in an accompanying press release. "With the pandemic continuing to put unprecedented strain on health care services and communities, identifying individuals at greatest risk and taking preventative measures to protect them is crucial."

They also found that slow walkers of normal weight were more at risk for both severe infection and death than fast walkers with obesity. Risk was uniformly high with slow walkers of a normal rate and those with obesity.

"Fast walkers have been shown to generally have good cardiovascular and heart health, making them more resilient to external stressors, including viral infection but this hypothesis has not yet been established for infectious disease," Yates explained. "Whilst large routine database studies have reported the association of obesity and fragility with COVID-19 outcomes, routine clinical databases do not currently have data on measures of physical function or fitness. It is my view that 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 that could ultimately enable better prevention methods that save lives."

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How to Stay Safe During This Pandemic

So follow the public health fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—wear a face mask that fits snugly and is double layered, don't travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, get vaccinated when it becomes available to you, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.