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Walking reduces your risk of stroke, new study shows

Taking a regular walk does more than help women get in better shape and enjoy some fresh air – it also helps them significantly reduce their risk of stroke, according to a new study.

Pick up the pace

WalkThe study found that women walking at a brisk pace (defined in the study as 3 mph or faster) or women walking two hours or more per week had a lower risk of both types of stroke: ischemic stroke (caused by clots) and hemorrhagic stroke (caused by bleeding).

Women who walked at a brisk pace had a 37 percent lower chance of any type of stroke compared with women who didn’t walk, while women who walked two hours or more per week had a 30 percent lower chance of having any type of stroke compared with women who didn’t walk, according to the study.

Large group traced over long-term

Published in Stroke: Journal of the American Medical Association, the study followed more than 39,000 women for about 12 years. Every two or three years, the women in the study self-reported their leisure-time physical activity in the previous year.

The study didn’t find a connection between vigorous activity and a woman’s stroke risk. Researchers are unsure why; they think that either moderate activity does a better job of lowering blood pressure than vigorous activity or too few women in the study said they performed vigorous activity to measure its true impact.

How else can I reduce my stroke risk?

Read this article about how more middle-aged women than middle-aged men are having strokes and get some tips for lowering your stroke risk from Nina Solenski, MD, a stroke neurologist at UVA Health System’s Stroke Center. For more information about stroke, visit uvahealth.com.

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