HealthDay News — For middle-aged female patients, even a few bouts of moderate exercise each week can cut the risk of coronary heart disease, venous thromboembolism, and stroke and exercising more frequently or strenuously may not provide greater reductions in cardiovascular risk, according to researchers.

“While physical activity has generally been associated with reduced risk of vascular disease, there is limited evidence about the effects of the frequency and duration of various activities on incidence of particular types of vascular disease,” wrote Miranda E. G. Armstrong, MPhil, PhD, of Oxford University in the United Kingdom, and colleagues in Circulation.

To determine the association between vascular disease and physical activity, the investigators tracked the health of more than 1.1 million British women who had no history of coronary heart disease (CHD), stroke, venous thromboembolism (VTE), diabetes, or cancer.

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Over an average follow-up time of nine years, female participants who did moderate exercise two or three times a week had a 20% lower risk of CHD, stroke, or VTE compared with those who did little or no exercise. Moderate exercise was defined as being active enough to cause sweating or increased heart rate, and included walking, gardening, and cycling.

“Inactive middle-aged women should try to do some activity regularly,” said Armstrong in an American Heart Association press release.

“However, to prevent heart disease, stroke and blood clots, our results suggest that women don’t need to do very frequent activity as this seems to provide little additional benefit above that from moderately frequent activity.”


  1. Armstrong MEG et al. Circulation. 2015; doi: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.114.010296