Exercise and Stroke

Posted by Blog Monday, February 21, 2011

Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States. About 700,000 Americans will have a stroke this year. Some 163,000 of those will die as a result, and countless others will suffer major long-term disabilities.

Stroke and heart disease have much in common. Hypertension is a major cause of both, and many of the other heart disease risk factors also increase the risk of stroke. Since exercise protects against heart disease and high blood pressure, it should reduce the risk of stroke—and it does.

As compared to those who are sedentary, people who are physically active are about 34 percent less likely to suffer from strokes caused by bleeding into the brain and are about 21 percent less likely to have strokes caused by arterial blockages. And in the case of heart disease and high blood pressure, moderate exercise is very effective. In a Harvard study of 72,488 nurses, for example, walking was linked to a 34 percent reduction in stroke.


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