Stroke: The simple lifestyle change that could reduce your risk of the condition by 40%

Dr Xand: Research suggests Aspirin could help with stroke

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According to new research from the United States, increasing levels of moderate activity can reduce the risk of stroke by 40 percent.

This reduction was most pronounced in older adults who increased their activity levels from less than three minutes to at least 14 minutes a day.

On average the NHS recommends a minimum of 150 minutes a week.

Authors of the research, published in the Jama Network Open journal, said: “This study’s findings suggest that more time spent being physically active, especially at moderate intensities, and less time spent being sedentary, particularly in longer bouts, may help reduce the risk of stroke.”

As well as highlighting the benefits of exercise, the study demonstrates the detrimental effects of a sedentary lifestyle.

The team said: “These results support clinical and public health guidelines encouraging people to move more and sit less to maintain cardiovascular health.”

Exercising regularly alongside a balanced diet are two of the fundamental pillars of leading a healthy life.

Moderate or intense exercise helps to improve cardiovascular health, keep weight at a healthy minimum, and boosts psychological well-being.

However, it wasn’t just moderate-intensity exercise where benefits could be gained.

Results of the study suggested four to five hours a day of light-intensity exercise could reduce the risk of stroke.

Dr Steven Hooker, one of the study’s authors, cautioned: “Of course, accumulating would likely require some intentional effort as most older adults don’t achieve that much.”

Nevertheless, it highlights how easy it can be to have a positive impact on health through relatively little movement.

However, there were some caveats to the study in that only a week’s worth of data was collected for each participant.

Furthermore, while the results are positive, more research is necessary in order to conclude the positive association between moderate exercise and stroke risk.

Meanwhile, Professor Naveed Sattar of the University of Glasgow also cautioned the study may overestimate the link between exercise levels and stroke.

However, Professor Sattar said: “There is no doubt that being more active lessens excess body fat, and helps keep blood pressure at lower, healthier levels.”

As well as exercise levels, several factors can increase an individual’s risk of stroke including:
• Age
• Family history
• Ethnicity
• Medical history
• Smoking
• Alcohol intake
• Underlying conditions.

Since some of these factors cannot be controlled, it is essential people take control of the risk factors where they can have an influence.

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