According the long-term follow-up of the Women’s Health Study (WHS) that involved 39,315 healthy US women 45 years and older and followed up for 12 years, women who walked 2 hours or more per week had a 30% lower risk for any stroke than women who did not walk. Furthermore, women who walked at a brisk pace (>4.8 km/hour) had a 37% lower risk for any stroke than women who did not walk.
At baseline, women were asked to estimate the average time spent on 8 groups of recreational activities during the past year: walking or hiking; jogging; running; bicycling; aerobic exercise; aerobic dance; use of exercise machines; tennis, squash, or racquetball; lap swimming; and lower-intensity exercise, including yoga. They were also asked about their walking pace.
The patients were stratified into different groups: those who do not walk regularly and those who walk at a pace of less than 3.2 km/hour, 3.2 to 4.7 km/hour (considered to be an average pace), 4.8 to 6.3 km/hour (considered to be brisk pace), or 6.4 or more km/hour (a striding pace).
After a follow-up of 13 years, the investigators found an inverse relationship between the amount of time spent walking and decrease in stroke.
Table 1. Stroke Risk According to Time Spent Walking at Baseline and at 3 Years of Follow-Up
|Time spent walking at baseline/at 3 years (hours per week)||<2/<2||<2/≥2||≥2/<2||≥2/≥2|
|Total stroke, No. of cases||117||29||26||31|
|Ischemic stroke, No. of cases||98||28||19||26|
|Hemorrhagic stroke, No. of cases||19||1||7||5|
The WHS was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health.
Stroke. Published online April 6, 2010.
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