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  • Walk Time, Not Intensity, May Be Most Important in Stroke Risk Reduction

    A new study has reaffirmed a link between stroke reduction and walking in older men—but the link has more to do with time spent walking than intensity of the activity.

    In an article published in the November 14 issue of Stroke, British researchers report on data involving 3,357 ambulatory men who took part in a 10-year study related to heart health. The men ranged in age from 60 to 80 and were grouped according to time spent walking, among other factors.

    Researchers found that over the 10-year period, the men who spent more time walking every week (8 to 14 hours) reduced risk of stroke by about 33% over those who spent minimal time walking (0 to 3 hours a week). That finding wasn't surprising in itself, but when researchers compared distance/speed data among time cohorts, they found no significant association between distance and risk reduction. In other words, time spent walking mattered more than pace.

    "Among community-dwelling older men we observed … a strong inverse dose-response association between time spent walking and risk of stroke, independent of walking pace, vigorous physical activity, established, and novel risk factors," authors wrote. "Results suggest that total volume of walking rather than the intensity is important for stroke prevention."

    APTA cites the role of physical activity in stroke reduction in resources aimed at patients, physical therapists, and policymakers. Members can provide their patients with a handout on stroke prevention (.pdf, listed under "Neurology"), and can share information on this topic with others by downloading resources at APTA's Issue Briefs webpage.

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