World Bulletin / News Desk
While the current study, which appeared in the journal Stroke, cannot prove that regular walking caused the fewer strokes, it contributes to a small body of evidence for potential relationships between specific kinds of exercise and risk for specific diseases.
Past studies have also linked physical activity to fewer strokes, which can be caused by built-up plaque in arteries or ruptured blood vessels in the brain.
"The message for the general population remains similar: regularly engaging in moderate recreational activity is good for your health," lead author Jose Maria Huerta of the Murcia Regional Health Authority inSpain told Reuters Health.
women who walked briskly for 210 minutes or more per week had a lower stroke risk than inactive women but also lower than those who cycled and did other higher-intensity workouts for a shorter amount of time.
In all, nearly 33,000 men and women answered a physical activity questionnaire given once in the mid-1990s as part of a larger European cancer project. For their study, Huerta and his team divided participants by gender, exercise type and total time spent exercising each week.
The authors checked in with participants periodically to record any strokes. During the 12-year follow-up period, a total of 442 strokes occurred among the men and women.
The results for women who were regular walkers translated to a 43 percent reduction in stroke risk compared to the inactive group, Huerta said. There was no reduction seen for men based on exercise type or frequency.
"We have no clear explanation for this," Huerta wrote in an email. He hypothesized that the men may have entered the study in better physical condition than the women, but there was no evidence to support that guess.
Huerta also declined to compare the study participants' risk levels to those of the general population, citing the subjects' unusual characteristics. A majority of men and women in the study were blood donors, for example, and blood donors tend to be in good health.
"I wouldn't make much of the results because they are for a very specific population," said Wilson Cuerva of the University of Chicago, who was not involved with the research.
Cuerva pointed out that the study relied too heavily on subjective measurements, such as the participants' memory of exercise routines, and there was no objective way to measure how much exercise they actually did.
While he noted that it is difficult to draw any conclusions from the Spanish study, he said people should try to follow recommendations for two and a half hours of moderate exercise, such as brisk walking, every week.
"We know that exercise is related to reduced risk of stroke and other diseases," he said.
Heads of UN, Work Bank lay out vision to deal with climate change
Turkish environment minister signs historic agreement in New York against taking action against climate change
Human defense mechanisms could be disrupted by the presence of a class of organic pollutants in fish and other food, according to new research.
'The time has come to treat childhood stunting as a development and an economic emergency,' World Bank Group head says
Obese population hits all-time high with a new studying finding that obesity can be predicted in babies
New research factors in collapsing Antarctic ice sheet that could double the sea-level rise to two metres by 2100 if emissions are not cut
Temperatures in the first two months of 2016 followed a year that broke 'all previous records by a wide margin'
Researchers at MIT may have made an important breakthrough in the fight against Alzheimer’s Disease.
Human immune system could be steered towards fighting cancerous tumors, researchers find
Data released on UN world wildlife day shows overall population is still falling despite a recent reduction in levels of poaching for ivory
Google will donate $1mn to help UNICEF map Zika outbreaks
The grounding of an iceberg has forced thousands of penguins to walk more than 60 km to find food
'The level of alarm is extremely high,' says WHO head, calls for an emergency meeting
One person has tested positive in Denmark for the mosquito-borne Zika virus
The world is making 20 times more plastic than we did 50 years ago with the majority being dumped in the sea.
Colombia's government has signed new legislation for the regulation and legalization of cannabis to be used for medicinal purposes.