Women Can Reduce Stroke Risk by Walking a Few Hours Per Week | 04/09/10

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omen who walk two or more hours per week or who walk at a brisk pace can significantly reduce their risk of suffering a stroke, new research indicates.

The findings are based on a study of the exercising habits of 39,315 female health professionals whose average age was 54. It found that:

  • Women who walked at a pace of 3 miles per hour or faster had a 37% lower risk of suffering any type of stroke.
  • Women who walked two or more hours a week had a 30% reduced risk of any type of stroke.

"Physical activity, including regular walking, is an important modifiable behavior for stroke prevention," Jacob R. Sattelmair, MSc, of the Harvard School of Public Health, says in a news release. "Physical activity is essential to promoting cardiovascular health and reducing risk of cardiovascular disease, and walking is one way of achieving physical activity."

Previous research has indicated that people who are physically active generally have a lower risk of stroke than those who are more sedentary.

Walking and Stroke Risk

Sattelmair and colleagues examined data from the Women's Health Study.

Every few years, the participants reported their leisure-time physical activity during the past year; specifically, how much time they spent walking; jogging; running; biking; doing aerobic exercise or dance; using machines; playing tennis, squash, or racquetball; swimming; doing yoga; and stretching and toning.

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