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It Only Takes A Little Walking to Diminish Your Risk of Stroke By A Hell of a Lot

Illustration for article titled It Only Takes A Little Walking to Diminish Your Risk of Stroke By A Hell of a Lot

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."


'Walking 3 hours per week may lower women's stroke risk' [CBS News]

Image via Anetlanda/Shutterstock

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This is why I recommend people who can afford/like dogs get a dog. Even if you live in an apartment, they change your quality of life IMMENSELY. As someone who suffers from a mood disorder, adopting a neurotic dog who has a need to go on 5 walks a day to get out of the apartment gets me out and moving. It also makes my day less stressful, cheers me up, and gets me some amount of exercise when I can't get on the bike. My therapist and I agree that he was the best thing to ever happen to me right at a time when I desperately needed "someone".