London, Aug 30 (IANS) Are you a middle-aged person with a slow walking pace? If yes, you might be at a higher risk of developing heart disease compared to those who walk steady or at a brisk pace, researchers have found. The study revealed that middle-aged people, both men and women, who reported that they are slow walkers were around twice as likely to have a heart-related death compared to brisk walkers. "This suggests that habitual walking pace is an independent predictor of heart-related death," said Professor Tom Yates, Reader at the University of Leicester in Britain. Further, walking pace was strongly linked to an individual's objectively measured exercise tolerance, and a good measure of overall physical fitness. "Thus, walking pace could be used to identify individuals who have low physical fitness and high mortality risk that would benefit from targeted physical exercise interventions," Yates added. Moreover, the study also found that handgrip strength is a weak predictor of heart-related deaths in men and could not be generalised across the population as a whole. For the study, published in the European Heart Journal, the team analysed 420,727 middle-aged people across Britain. In the following 6.3 years, after the data was collected there were 8,598 deaths: 1,654 died from cardiovascular disease, while cancer took 4,850 lives.