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Article Name: Walking Can Cut Stroke Risk in Women
Article Date: 5/20/2010
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Stroke can be a disabling, even fatal, event. We already know about some of the risk factors linked to stroke, such as high blood pressure, excess alcohol intake, diabetes and smoking. What has not been clear is how physical activity might help reduce stroke risk. A team from Harvard School of Public Health now issues a new report from the Women’s Health Study, a large study set up to investigate risk factors and heart disease and stroke. This shows an association between walking for two hours or more a week and reduced stroke risk.

A group of nearly 40,000 women aged over 44 were asked at regular intervals over a 12 year period about their participation in activities like walking, running, dancing and swimming to get an assessment of their exercise levels. Nearly 600 strokes occurred during the group in the follow up time. Analysis showed that there was no link between any of the activities assessed and stroke risk except for walking. Those who walked for two hours or more a week were less likely to have a stroke. But there was no link between more vigorous activities and reduced stroke risk, which is perhaps a little surprising.
 
Commenting on the study, the UK NHS Knowledge Services says that the study had some limitations and the link between walking and stroke prevention is only a weak one. Further investigation is needed to see how much, and what kind of, exercise are most beneficial in stroke prevention. However, we do know that walking has many other health benefits. If stroke prevention is one of them, then that is another reason to get moving. Remember, walking is the most convenient and easy form of exercise!


Source: Sattelmair J et al Physical activity and risk of stroke in women Stroke 6th April 2010

 

 

By: Susan Aldridge, medical journalist, PhD 

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