The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that every year more than 795,000 Americans have a stroke, with approximately 130,000 of those people dying as a result. Maintaining a regular physical activity schedule is one of the key factors in preventing stroke risk because it can lower blood pressure, maintain healthy weight, and keep cholesterol levels down.
And a new study has revealed even more evidence showing that regular exercise has health benefits. Researchers from the Southwestern Medical Center at the University of Texas found that adults who are physically fit in midlife are considerably less likely to have a stroke later on in life, and considering that stroke is one of the leading causes of death in the United States, this is good news.
The CDC defines physical activity as anything that gets a person moving, and according to the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (a fact sheet put together by the CDC), individuals need two types of physical activity each week to improve health—aerobic and muscle-strengthening. It also recommends that adults between the ages of 18 and 64 get 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity every week, but a 2014 health survey indicates that less than half of the adults in the U.S. are meeting this guideline.
Researchers of the study looked at 19,815 adults who were part of a previous study, the 1970–2009 Cooper Center Longitudinal Study. When those participants were 45 to 50 years old, they became part of another study that looked at cardiorespiratory fitness levels based on how they performed on a treadmill. After the test, participants were put into three groups based on their results: low, middle, or high cardiorespiratory fitness. Those with the highest cardiorespiratory fitness had a reduced stroke risk after 65.
The findings highlight the fact that exercise at all stages of life is a key component in preventing stroke later on in life, and that there is a definite correlation between high fitness levels and lower stroke risk.
Sources for Today’s Article:
“Keeping Fit in Midlife Lowers Stroke Risk,” Medical News web site; http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/310899.php, last accessed June 29, 2016.
“How Much Physical Activity Do Adults Need?” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention web site; https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/adults/index.htm, last accessed June 29, 2016.
“Exercise or Physical Activity?” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention web site; http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/exercise.htm, last accessed June 29, 2016.