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Walking slowly to a heart death

Elderly men and women who walk slowly are up to three times more likely to die from cardiovascular disease than those who walk faster, a new study shows.

Researchers at the University Pierre and Marie Curie in France studied the walking speed of 3,208 men and women aged between 65 and 85.

The study monitored the walking speeds of subjects through a series of tests, including one which examined how fast a person could walk without running.

Researchers found that slow walking is "strongly associated" with an increased risk of dying from cardiovascular disease.

During the five years that the study was carried out, 209 people died (99 from cancer, 59 from cardiovascular disease and 51 from other causes).

The study, which was published online by the British Medical Journal (BMJ), said: "Participants in the lowest third of walking speed had a 44% increased risk of death compared with those in the upper thirds.

"With regard to specific causes of death, participants in the lowest third of walking speed had about a threefold increased risk of cardiovascular death, while no relation was found with cancer mortality."

Slow walking has been previously linked to falls, disability and an increased number of admissions to hospital.

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