A new British study has found that even a few bouts of moderate exercise each week can cut a middle-aged woman’s odds for heart disease, blood clots and stroke.

The message, according to study lead author Miranda Armstrong: “To prevent heart disease, stroke and blood clots, women don’t have to be super athletes or strenuously exercise daily to experience the benefits of physical activity.”

And, she adds that adding lots of extra strenuous exercise may offer “little additional benefit above that from moderately frequent activity.” Armstrong is a physical activity epidemiologist at Oxford University in England.

The findings are published February 16 in the journal Circulation.

Moderate exercise was defined by being active enough to cause sweating or increased heart rate, and included walking, gardening and cycling.

Suzanne Steinbaum, director of women and heart disease at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City said, “What we need to impress upon all women that their commitment to move does not have to be that of an athlete or be something that is overwhelming her life.”

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