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Walking for longer rather than faster reduces stroke risk

Walking for longer rather than faster reduces stroke risk
18th November 2013

A long and steady stroll has greater health benefits than a short power walk, researchers claim.

The team at University College London state that doing one to two hours of walking each day can significantly reduce a person in their 60s risk of suffering a stroke.

They questioned 3,435 healthy men aged between 60 and 80 on what pace they walked and how far they travelled in an average week and found that those who did eight to 14 hours were a third less likely to have a stroke than those who did less than three hours.

Men that did more than 22 hours each week were found to have a risk two-thirds lower.

"If you took 1,000 men who usually walk eight to 14 hours per week and followed them for ten years, on average they would have 55 strokes, compared with 80 for the group who only walk zero to three hours a week," said researcher Dr Barbara Jefferis.

"The total time spent walking was more consistently protective against stroke than pace; overall it seemed that accumulating more time walking was most beneficial."

She added that the study suggests regular walking could be an important part of stroke prevention plans for older people.

Dr Shannon Amoils from the British Heart Foundation said people should look to stay active whatever age they are.

Approximately 152,000 people suffer a stroke in the UK each year, the equivalent of one every minutes.

One in five strokes are fatal and many survivors are left with life-altering disabilities.

The study published in the American Heart Association journal Stroke.

A recent joint study between scientists at London School of Economics, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute at Harvard Medical School and Stanford University School of Medicine found that regular exercise can be as beneficial as medications for people recovering from cardiovascular illnesses.

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