Walking Helps Women, Not Men, Avoid Stroke

By Ryan Halvorson
Apr 1, 2013

In last month’s issue, it was reported that only a small portion of the population walks for extended periods on a regular basis. According to researchers from Spain, women should take up the activity to reduce stroke potential.

The study, published in Stroke (2013; 44, 111–18), included 13,576 men and 19,416 women aged 29–69. The large group was part of the European Prospective Investigation Into Cancer and Nutrition. Participants were recruited between 1992 and 1996 and followed until 2006. During this time, 442 stroke cases were reported among the study subjects. The researchers learned that women who engaged in ≥3.5 hours of walking weekly were 43% less likely to have suffered a stroke than those who did not walk regularly. This was true only among women; walking regularly did not seem to affect stroke risk in men. The researchers also found “no significant associations . . . for other leisure time activities or vigorous physical activity with cardiovascular disease [risk] in either sex.”

“Recreational physical activity of moderate intensity was inversely associated with stroke incidence in women, whereas physical activity showed no effect on CVD risk in men,” they continued. “Increasing time dedicated to activities such as walking would be expected to help to reduce the stroke burden in women.”

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Ryan Halvorson

Ryan Halvorson is an award-winning writer and editor. He is a long-time author and presenter for IDEA Health & Fitness Association, fitness industry consultant and former director of group training for Bird Rock Fit. He is also a Master Trainer for TriggerPoint.

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