Tim White

Women Who Walk Lower Stroke Risk
Women Who Walk Lower Stroke Risk

Women who walk at least three hours every  week are less likely to suffer a stroke than women who walk less or not at all,  according to the latest research.

While the current study, which appeared in  the journal Stroke, cannot prove that regular walking caused the fewer strokes,  it contributes to a small body of evidence for potential relationships between  specific kinds of exercise and risk for specific diseases.

Past studies have also linked physical  activity to fewer strokes, which can be caused by built-up plaque in arteries or  ruptured blood vessels in the brain.

‘The message for the general population  remains similar: regularly engaging in moderate recreational activity is good  for your health,’ lead author Jose Maria Huerta of the Murcia Regional Health  Authority in Spain told Reuters Health.

Women who walked briskly for 210 minutes or  more per week had a lower stroke risk than inactive women but also lower than  those who cycled and did other higher-intensity workouts for a shorter amount of  time.

In all, nearly 33,000 men and women answered  a physical activity questionnaire given once in the mid-1990s as part of a  larger European cancer project.

For their study, Huerta and his team divided  participants by gender, exercise type and total time spent exercising each  week.

The authors checked in with participants  periodically to record any strokes. During the 12-year follow-up period, a total  of 442 strokes occurred among the men and women.

The results for women who were regular  walkers translated to a 43 percent reduction in stroke risk compared to the  inactive group, Huerta said.

There was no reduction seen for men based on  exercise type or frequency.

‘We have no clear explanation for this,’  Huerta wrote in an email.

He hypothesized that the men may have entered  the study in better  physical condition than the women, but there was no  evidence to support  that guess.

 

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