European study finds weekly walking cuts risk of stroke by 43 percent
Each year 425,000 women suffer from strokes but there is a way to cut that risk. Researchers from Spain reveal in a study just 3.5 hours a week of walking can cut a women’s risk by 43%.
According to researcher’s information on the association between physical activity and cerebrovascular diseases (are conditions that develop as a result of problems with the blood vessels inside the brain such as stroke) is limited.
Past studies have demonstrated that women who walk at a brisk pace of two or more hours a week reduce their stroke risk by 37%. This new study demonstrates that physical activities such as walking do reduce the risk for stroke in women.
For this new study participants included 13,576 men and 19,416 women, aged 29 to 69 years who had participated in the European cancer project that responded to a physical activity questionnaire during the mid-1990’s. Participants were divided by gender, type of physical activity and how much time they had spent on physical activity.
After the 12 year follow-up 442 stroke cases were recorded; 80% ischemic, 10% hemorrhagic, 7% subarachnoid hemorrhage, and 3% mixed or unspecified.
The findings revealed that physical activity was associated to reduce stroke risk for women but not in men. Women who walked for 3 ½ hours a week showed a reduced risk for stroke by 43% in comparison to those who did not participate in physical activity. Also revealed was that other physical activities or vigorous physical activities had no significant association in stroke reduction.
Dr. José María Huerta, PhD, of the Murcia Regional Health Authority in Spain, related to Reuters in an email "We have no clear explanation for this.” He explains that men may have entered the study in better physical condition than women but there was no evidence to support this guess.
Dr. Wilson Cueva of the University of Chicago in Illinois commented to Reuters "I wouldn't make much of the results because they are for a very specific population.” "There is no objective way to measure how much exercise they actually did.”
In their conclusion the researchers write; “Increasing time dedicated to activities such as walking would be expected to help to reduce the stroke burden in women.”
This study appears online in the journal Stroke, December 6, 2012.
In 2010, a study lead by Jacob R. Sattelmair, M.Sc., Doctoral student, Department of Epidemiology at Harvard School of Public Health, revealed that women who walked two hours or more a week or who usually walk at a brisk pace (3mph or more) have a significantly lower stroke risk in comparison to women that do not walk for physical activity.
This study included 39,315 healthy American women, 45 years of age and older from the Women’s Health Study.
The results showed that women who walk at a brisk pace had a 37% lower risk of any type of stroke, 68% lower risk of hemorrhagic stroke and 25 percent lower risk of ischemic stroke.
Sattelmair stated "Physical activity, including regular walking, is an important modifiable behavior for stroke prevention.” "Though the exact relationship among different types of physical activity and different stroke subtypes remains unclear, the results of this specific study indicate that walking, in particular, is associated with lower risk of stroke.”
This study appeared in the journal Stroke, April 6, 2010.
According to the CDC adults need;
2 hours and 30 minutes (150 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (i.e., brisk walking) every week and weight training, muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms).
1 hour and 15 minutes (75 minutes) of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity (i.e., jogging or running) every week and weight training, muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms)
An equivalent mix of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity and weight training, muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms).
More information on stroke can be found online at the Stroke Association.