Women Need to Take a Hike

Brisk walks can help prevent strokes in women.A new study suggests that women who walk for two or more hours every week or who walk at a rapid pace can significantly reduce their risk of suffering a stroke.  The results are based on a study of the exercising routines of 39,315 women health experts with an average age of 54.  The study found that women who walked at a pace of three miles per hour or faster had a 37 percent lesser risk of experiencing any kind of stroke.  Additionally, women who walked for two or more hours a week had a 30 percent less risk of suffering a stroke.

Jacob R. Sattelmair, MSc, of the Harvard School of Public Health, said, “Physical activity, including regular walking, is an important modifiable behavior for stroke prevention”.  Physical activity is essential to promoting good cardiovascular health.  Walking is just one easy way of achieving that goal.  Earlier research showed that people who are physically active typically have a smaller risk of stroke than couch potatoes.  According to Sattelmair, strokes are the third leading cause of death and the leading cause of disability in adults in the United States.

Dr. Michael Hill, a neurologist and spokesman for the Heart and Stroke Foundation in Canada, said the study’s findings are not surprising because exercise is good for the heart.  “If you walk, you do well, and if you don’t walk, you don’t do so well,” said Hill.

Hill noted that the study relied on “self-described” exercise and that is likely why conclusive data regarding vigorous exercise cannot be determined.  “If you look at people who take care of themselves and exercise, they also tend to eat well, and they tend to have a good work/life balance.”

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