A 30-minute walk per day may cut stroke death risk by 54%

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In a new study from the University of Calgary, researchers found that people who walk or garden at least three to four hours per week, or bike at least two to three hours per week, or the equivalent after having a stroke may have a 54% lower risk of death from any cause.

They found the most benefit for younger stroke survivors. When people under the age of 75 exercised at least that amount, their risk of death was reduced by 80%.

In the study, the team looked at 895 people with an average age of 72 who had a prior stroke and 97,805 people with an average age of 63 who had never had a stroke.

Average weekly physical activity was evaluated from questions about activities such as walking, running, gardening, weight training, bicycling, and swimming.

The team followed participants for an average of about four and a half years.

After accounting for other factors that could affect the risk of death, like age and smoking, researchers found that 25% of the people who had previous strokes died from any cause, compared to 6% of the people who had never had a stroke.

In the stroke group, 15% of the people who exercised at least the equivalent of three to four hours of walking each week died during follow-up, compared to 33%, who did not exercise that minimum amount.

In the group of people who had never had strokes, 4% of the people who exercised that amount died, compared to 8% who did not.

The team found the largest reduction in the death rate among people who had a previous stroke but were under 75 years of age.

In that group, 11% of those who exercised at least the minimum amount died, compared to 29% who did not.

People with a previous stroke who were under 75 years of age and met the minimum level of physical activity were about 80% less likely to die than those who did not.

People over 75 years of age who exercised the minimum experienced less of a benefit but were still 32% less likely to die.

These results suggest that getting a minimum amount of physical activity may reduce long-term mortality from any cause in stroke survivors.

The team says doctors should particularly emphasize this to stroke survivors who are younger in age, as they may gain the greatest health benefits from walking just thirty minutes each day.

If you care about stroke, please read studies about these food may reduce your stroke risk and findings of this blood thinner drug plus aspirin could strongly reduce stroke risk.

For more information about stroke and your health, please see recent studies about eye problems may signal higher risk of dementia, stroke, early death and results showing that adding these drugs to statins may lower stroke risk.

The study is published in Neurology. One author of the study is Raed A. Joundi, MD, DPhil.

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