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Start walking after a stroke—you’ll live longer

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If you’ve suffered a stroke, start walking (or gardening or biking).  Getting active for just four hours a week will dramatically reduce your risk of a premature death.

If you’re 75 or older, a little activity every week will more than halve your risk of an early death, and the reduction in risk is even more impressive if you’re under 75, dropping by 80 percent.

Not surprisingly, the mortality risk drops even further in those who exercise for more than four hours a week.     

Most older people can maintain that level of gentle exercise, even if they have suffered a stroke, say researchers from the University of Calgary.  To discover the positive impact of exercise, they tracked the health and activity levels of 895 people with an average of 72 who had suffered a stroke and compared them to more than 97,000 people, with an average age of 63, who hadn’t had a stroke.

During the four years of the study, around 15 percent in the stroke group who walked for three to four hours a week died, but that rose to 33 percent in those who didn’t exercise.  In the non-stroke group, 4 percent who exercised had died, but that rate doubled in the non-exercise group.

Walking for at least three to four hours a week, or cycling for two to three hours, was the minimum required to live a longer life.

(Source: Neurology, 2021; 10.1212/WNL.000000000000012535)

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Article Topics: Ageing, death, Gerontology
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