Staying Physically Active in Middle Age Lowers Stroke Risk after 65

Sunglasses on workout bench

A new study suggests that regular exercise in middle age could reduce stroke risk by 37 percent in old age.

Recent research confirms that staying physically fit may ward off disease alter on. According to researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, an active life in middle age is linked to lower risk of stroke in the golden years.

Dr. Ralph Sacco of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine who did not contribute to the study, explained that other studies had found a link between healthy mid-life behaviors and lower risk of cardiovascular disease later in life.

The new study involved 20,000 middle-aged adults with ages ranging from mid to late 40s. The research revealed that stroke risk in participants who maintained an active lifestyle as they aged was reduced by 37 percent after the age of 65.

The study results remained consistent even after researchers adjusted them for other risk factors that may promote risk of stroke such as hypertension, diabetes, and a heart condition called atrial fibrillation.

Dr. Ambarish Pandey, lead author of the study, explained that participants who had the lowest risk of stroke after 65 were those who exercised on a day-to-day basis, and incorporated physical exercise in their daily routine.

According to the American Heart Association, a healthy lifestyle should include at least 150 minutes of moderate activity or 75 minute of vigorous physical activity every week.

Study authors believe that the healthiest exercises for a middle-aged person are aerobic exercises including cycling, running, swimming or sustained walking. The middle-aged should also add strength training exercises to their daily exercise routine, researchers said.

In the U.S., stroke kills tens of thousands people every year and impair hundreds of thousands more. It is the fifth leading cause of death in the country.

A stroke can happen when something obstructs a blood vessel in the brain. Blood clots usually happen to do this to stroke victims and prevent their brains from having access to vital oxygen and blood.

If the brain lacks oxygen for too long it can lead to permanent disability or even death. Researchers think that fitness exercises can preserve blood vessels’ flexibility and reduce inflammation within the body.

The study was published Thursday in the medical journal Stroke.

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