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Break a sweat during exercise to reduce stroke risk, study claims

July 24, 2013

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Bethesda, MD – Regular vigorous exercise may help reduce the risk of stroke, according to a new study from the University of South Australia.

The study involved more than 27,000 people in the Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke Study, a long-term project from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

Researchers followed participants – who did not have a history of stroke – for an average of 5.7 years, during which time non-exercisers were 20 percent more likely to have a stroke or transient ischemic attack than people who worked out four or more times a week, according to a press release from the National Institutes of Health.

The level of exercise was defined as moderately vigorous, which is strong enough to make a person sweat. People who regularly exercised at that level also had lower rates of some stroke risk factors, such as hypertension and obesity.

For men, exercising at least four times a week was tied to an even lower risk than exercising one to three times a week.

The study was published online July 18 in the journal Stroke.