Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Women Should Walk to Lower Their Stroke Risk!

Having adequate physical activity such as brisk walking can help prevent heart disease. The recommendation by the American Heart Association for adults is to do 2-and-a-half hours a week of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic activity or a combination of both.

Recently, a group of researchers from Harvard School of Public Health in Boston found that women could actually reduce their risk of stroke by walking. Published on April 6, 2010 in the American Heart Association journal Stroke, the findings reported that women who said they walked briskly had a 37 percent lower risk of stroke than those who did not walk. For those women who walked at least 2 hours a week at any pace had a 30 percent lower risk of stroke.

Previous studies have already reported physical activity decreases stroke risk. For example, a study by the Harvard School of Public Health reported in 2000 in the Journal of the American Medical Association that physical activity, including walking, provided a significant reduction in stroke risk. The new study, however, took a step forward to focus on the kind of exercise that might be most beneficial for women.

About 39,000 female health workers who were 45 and older were involved in the study known as Women’s Health Study. The women were asked about their physical activity at the start of the study (1992-1995) and periodically reported their activities thereafter. During the 12-year period, it was found that 579 of them had stroke.

In addition to walking, the researchers also examined other vigorous activities such as running, swimming and biking. However, no link was found between those vigorous activities and a reduced stroke risk.

This could be due to insufficient number of women in that group to show a difference or moderate activity could be better at lowering blood pressure, as explained by the researchers.

While the study was observational with self-reported data, the research team did control well of other risk factors including age, aspirin use and smoking that could affect stroke risk. The researchers were happy to find that moderate activities are powerfully effective in cutting the stroke risk.

Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States, after heart disease and cancer. Besides high blood pressure, heart disease, Type-2 diabetes and obesity are also risk factors that could lead to stroke.


  1. Does it applies only for women's or the same for the men's too??

  2. The findings of this particular study applied to women only as the subjects were all female.

  3. What is the best thing to do to prevent this kind of problem?


  4. Hi I think the best way is to adopt healthy diet, say not too salty and not too oily food. Of course, exercise does play an important role, too...