Women can lower their stroke risk by walking, suggests the result of a new study.
In the study, researchers found that women who walked two or more hours a week or who usually walked at a brisk pace had a significantly lower risk of stroke than women who didn't walk.
The risks were lower for total stroke, clot-related (ischemic) stroke and bleeding (hemorrhagic) stroke, researchers said.
"Physical activity, including regular walking, is an important modifiable behavior for stroke prevention," said Jacob R. Sattelmair, M.Sc., lead author and doctoral candidate in epidemiology at Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, Mass.
"Physical activity is essential to promoting cardiovascular health and reducing risk of cardiovascular disease, and walking is one way of achieving physical activity," he added.
Researchers followed 39,315 U.S. female health professionals (average age 54, predominantly white) participating in the Women's Health Study.
Every two to three years, participants reported their leisure-time physical activity during the past year - specifically time spent walking or hiking, jogging, running, biking, doing aerobic exercise/aerobic dance, using exercise machines, playing tennis/squash/racquetball, swimming, doing yoga and stretching/toning.
No household, occupational activity or sedentary behaviors were assessed.
The study has been reported in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association.