Moderate Exercise Leads to Lower HRT Risks

Fact: Exercise makes you look and feel better – and it makes taking estrogen safer

If you are looking for a way to lower HRT risks, the secret is now out and it should be reassuring – exercise. No, you don’t need to run a marathon or do extreme sports. Moderate-intensity exercise like walking briskly or playing tennis can lower your risk of stroke according to research presented at the 2014 International Stroke Conference of the American Stroke Association Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014.

In a press release, lead author Sophia Wang, Ph.D. at the Beckman Research Institute at the City of Hope in Duarte, California said, “I was surprised that moderate physical activity was most strongly associated with a reduced risk of stroke.” What’s important for you to know is that moderate exercise is all that is needed.

Doing more strenuous activity such as running didn’t lower the study women’s risk of stroke any further. That’s a lot of incentive to take a brisk walk.

The study found that the same moderate exercise also somewhat lowered the increased risk associated with postmenopausal women taking hormone therapy.

The types of activities we’re talking about are accessible to most of the population

The researchers studied 133,479 women in the California Teachers Study to see how many suffered a stroke between 1996 and 2010. The study found that women who did moderate exercise in the three years before they entered the study were 20 percent less likely to have a stroke than women who reported no activity.

“The benefits of reducing risk of stroke were further observed among the group of women who had a sustained moderate level of physical activity over time,” Wang said.

The postmenopausal women who took hormone therapy had over 30 percent higher risk of stroke than women who never used HRT. Their risk began to diminish after stopping hormones.

“The effects of physical activity and hormone therapy appear immediate and the benefits of physical activity are consistent in premenopausal and postmenopausal women,” Wang said. That’s why it is so important for women to include some type of exercise into their daily routine. “You don’t have to do an extreme boot camp. The types of activities we’re talking about are accessible to most of the population.” Everyone has access to walking, gardening, dancing and similar forms of exercise.

The study also found that having diabetes increased a woman’s risk of stroke. However, this group included overweight women, which might have contributed to the overall stroke risk. Dr Wang said, “Stroke prevention among diabetics is thus a particularly important scientific question to address.”

Treat yourself with a favorite activity and help lower your risk of stroke. What are your plans for exercise today?