New research reveals that walking at least three hours a week reduces the risk of stroke among women.

The finding, published in the journal Stroke, comes from yet another study highlighting the health benefits of doing exercise on a consistent basis.

The study involved questioning a total of 33,000 men and women aged 29 to 69 about the amount of physical activity they did between 1992 and 1996, and then following them up until 2006 to evaluate how many cardiovascular complications arose.

They found that women who did at least 210 minutes of walking every week were less likely to develop a stroke than those who didn’t do much physical activity, as well as females who did high intensity cardio.

At the end of the follow-up period, the researchers counted the total number of strokes among men and women, which totaled to 442. Further analysis showed that women who walked more than three hours a week were 43 percent less likely to develop a stroke compared to those who didn’t do any physical activity.

However this weekly walking benefit was not linked to a lower stroke risk among males, and could be attributed to the fact that the men who entered this study were, on average, in better shape.

Lead author, José María of the Murcia Regional Health Authority in Spain said: “The message for the general population remains similar: regularly engaging in moderate recreational activity is good for your health.”

The American Heart Foundation estimates that around 800,000 Americans suffer from stroke each year. Although there has been a slight drop in the number of strokes recently, the World Health Organization (WHO) anticipates that there will, in fact, be more incidents of stroke as the world’s population continues to increase.

The WHO recommends a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate exercise weekly in order to stay healthy and prevent cardiovascular problems.

The link between exercise and decreased stroke risk has been identified before. A previous study published in the American Academy of Neurology found that men who do moderate to heavy intensity exercise are less likely to develop a stroke compared to those who do little or no exercise, as well as recovering better and faster too.

Another study reported that exercise may even prevent severe strokes. The research, which was also published in the American Academy of Neurology, concluded that people who exercised before getting a stroke recovered a lot faster than those who didn’t.

These studies highlight the importance of how physical activity can help prevent the development of serious cardiovascular complications.

Written by Joseph Nordqvist