A 2010 study of older women (average age 54) in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association found that simply going for a walk reduced their chances of a stroke by 25% or more. Women in the study walked for two or more hours a week or walked at a brisk pace, which the study defines as 3 mph or faster. The findings are significant because stroke is the 3rd leading cause of death in the U.S. and a leading cause of serious disability. The study covered nearly 40,000 women over a period of 12 years.
For whatever reason, there is not as strong a link between walking and lower risk of stroke for men. Nor was there a link between more vigorous activity (such as running) and reduced stroke risk for women. But common sense tells us walking is no doubt good for all of us, particularly as we age. A good pace is the “talk test.” If you can carry on a conversation while you’re walking, that’s a good pace. If however you can sing while you walk, you need to pick up the pace.
So ladies (and gentlemen), go take a walk. It’s good for your heart!