Walking May Cut Stroke Risk in Older Men
British study suggests the number of weekly hours walked, not how fast, is what matters
Although the study found an association between greater weekly walking time and lower stroke risk in men, it did not establish a cause-and-effect relationship.
For the study, Jefferis's team collected data on nearly 3,500 healthy men aged 60 to 80 who were taking part in a larger heart study involving 24 British towns. The men were asked how far they walked each week.
The researchers divided the men into five groups: those who walked zero to three hours a week, four to seven hours a week, eight to 14 hours a week, 15 to 21 hours a week and more than 22 hours a week.
During the next 10 years, men who walked eight to 14 hours a week cut their risk for stroke by about one-third compared to men who walked zero to three hours a week, the researchers found.
For men who walked more than 22 hours a week, the risk for stroke dropped by about two-thirds, they found.
Among all the men, 42 percent walked for more than eight hours a week and 9 percent walked more than 22 hours a week, according to the report.
Men who walked zero to three hours a week had strokes at a rate of 80 per 1,000 men over 10 years. Meanwhile, those who walked eight to 14 hours a week had strokes at a rate of 55 per 1,000 men, the researchers said.
The benefit of walking was seen regardless of how fast the men walked. "The protective effects of spending more time walking on risk of stroke weren't explained by differences in walking pace," Jefferis said.