Daily workouts may reduce the risk for having a stroke. According to the findings of a new study, regular moderate to vigorous exercise, enough to break out a sweat, can cut the risk of stroke by 20 percent.
The study, published July 18 in the American Stroke Association Journal Stroke, found that men who exercised at moderate to vigorous levels four times a week had a significantly reduced chance of suffering a stroke.
However, the relationship between stroke and frequency of physical activity was less clear in women.
For the purpose of the study, researchers at the University of South Australia looked at more than 27,000 Americans aged 45 and older. The participants were followed for an average of 5.7 years.
Participants were required to self-report their frequency and intensity of exercise.
Nearly a third of the participants were ‘inactive’, meaning they exercised less than once a week.
Researchers found strong association between stroke risk and intensity and frequency of exercise.
Men who exercised four or more times a week at a moderate to vigorous level had a 20 percent lower risk of suffering a stroke or transient ischemic attack (mini-stroke) compared to those who did not exercise enough to break into sweat or those who were ‘inactive’.
However, a lesser defined association was found in women, researchers highlighted.
“These results should encourage doctors to stress the importance of exercise with their patients, contributing author Virginia Howard, marked.
Physical inactivity is next only to high blood pressure as a risk factor for strokes.
According to the American Stroke Association, stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States. On average, a stroke episode occurs every 40 seconds, making it a leading cause of disability for the U.S.
“The stroke-lowering benefits of physical activity are related to its impact on other risk factors,” study’s lead researcher Michelle McDonnell, a lecturer at the School of Health Sciences at the International Centre for Allied Health Evidence at the university, said. “Exercise reduces blood pressure, weight and diabetes. If exercise was a pill, you’d be taking one pill to treat four or five different conditions.”