As if we need more reasons to exercise…
It’s true, we are living (and working) longer, and taking good care of ourselves is more important than ever.
It’s a well-known fact that exercising regularly and keeping body fat down are imperative for good health.
But new research from the journal Neurology suggests that the exercise component is more beneficial for patients suffering from a stroke.
This study found that people who participated in vigorous exercise (whether at the gym or at a physically demanding job) at least three times a week were significantly less likely to be incapacitated following a stroke when compared with those who exercised less.
More interestingly, there was no correlation of post-stroke independence to Body Mass Index (BMI). Pamela Rist, an associate epidemiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the lead author of the study, concluded that “If people were obese or overweight, it really didn’t tell us much about how they’d do after a stroke.”
The researchers tracked over 18,000 people aged 50 and over for 12 years, biannually recording their height, weight, exercise activities, and degree of ability to independently perform basic self-care and household maintenance routines. Approximately 1400 people survived strokes in this study, and it was revealed that those who were physically less active were 18% less likely to remain capable of independently performing basic household and self-care routines, and 16% were less likely to perform more involved tasks such as managing money. The research noted that although obesity raised the risk of having a stroke, lack of physical exercise did not.
Most interesting was the comparison of people who did not have a stroke and regularly exercised (45%) to people who survived a stroke and exercised regularly (43%). However, it must be noted that only 26% of individuals who succumbed to the stroke regularly exercised.
Overall, the researchers concluded that while it is important to monitor your weight in the fight against strokes, physical activity has a larger influence on recovery.
Article by Cavalier Associates.