Regular reasonable exercise such as brisk walking, can significantly reduce your risk of stroke, says a new study that followed 133,479 women. Researchers tracked the activity level of these women over a 14-year period, and then looked to see who experienced a stroke. Compared to sedentary women, those getting regular moderate activity were 20 percent less likely to experience a stroke.
More vigorous exercise such as running is also protective, but not any more than the moderate activity. That’s encouraging to know that you don’t have to exercise strenuously to get good health benefits.
The study also found that postmenopausal women who took hormone therapy were 30 percent more likely to have a stroke compared to those women not taking hormones. Moderate exercise did help to reduce this risk. The risk also fell as soon as they stopped taking the hormones.
Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the Western world, with many of those who survive facing years of recovery and long-term disability. Finding ways to prevent this serious disease is important for long lifelong health.
The bottom line is to get regular moderate physical activity to keep your brain healthy and look and feel your best. Activities like golf, swimming, biking, walking briskly, and recreational tennis, can lower your stroke risk. Other research shows that eating more fruits and vegetables, keeping your blood pressure low (below 120/80), and limiting salt or sodium in the diet are also effective ways of reducing stroke.