In a study on the causation and prevention of strokes in both men and women, the Murcia Regional Health Authority in Spain examined 33,000 European citizens from 29 to 69 years of age to monitor for a 12-year follow-up period. In women, as it turns out, briskly walking a minimum of 3 hours a week or more can reduce the risk of stroke by 43%. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends 150 minutes of "moderate" aerobics or 75 minutes of "vigorous" aerobics per week for adults.
It's particularly important to take advantage of this because men aren't so lucky: researchers who examined the male study participants saw no change in stroke risk based on frequency or manner of exercise. Although the study was observational in nature and the subjects were on a volunteer basis—hardly a "standard" sampling of the population, many of them were blood donors, which means that in many cases they were particularly healthy—it couldn't hurt to incorporate the findings into a weekly routine.
As Lenox Hill Hospital's Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, director of the women and heart disease department, puts it: "What women can take away from this is there is something that you can do that is very simple, very easy and not too time consuming to protect your cardiovascular health status, and that is walking."
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