The risks were lower for total stroke, clot-related (ischemic) stroke and bleeding (hemorrhagic) stroke, researchers said.
Compared to women who didn't walk, those who usually walked at a brisk pace had a 37 percent lower risk of any type of stroke, and those who walked two or more hours a week had a 30 percent lower risk of any type of stroke.
Women who typically walked at a brisk pace had a 68 percent lower risk of hemorrhagic stroke and those who walked two or more hours a week had a 57 percent lower risk of hemorrhagic stroke.
Women who usually walked at a brisk pace had a 25 percent lower risk of ischemic stroke and those who usually walked more than two hours a week had a 21 percent lower risk of ischemic stroke, both "borderline significant," according to researchers.
Physical activity is essential to promoting cardiovascular health and reducing risk of cardiovascular disease, and walking is one way of achieving physical activity.
More physically active people generally have a lower risk of stroke than the least active, with more-active persons having a 25 percent to 30 percent lower risk for all strokes, according to previous studies.
Researchers followed 39,315 U.S. female health professionals (average age 54, predominantly white) participating in the Women's Health Study.
Every two to three years, participants reported their leisure-time physical activity during the past year, specifically time spent walking or hiking, jogging, running, biking, doing aerobic exercise/aerobic dance, using exercise machines, playing tennis/squash/racquetball, swimming, doing yoga and stretching/toning.
No household, occupational activity or sedentary behaviors were assessed.
The women who were most active in their leisure-time activities were 17 percent less likely to have any type of stroke compared to the least-active women.