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Study links daily walks to reduced risk of severe stroke among older adults: study

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Stockholm — Older adults who walk for 35 minutes a day may reduce their risk of experiencing a moderate to severe stroke by 50 percent, according to a study recently published by the American Academy of Neurology.

Using two Swedish registries, researchers examined 925 people, of whom 80 percent had suffered mild strokes. The patients, who had an average age of 73, were asked to assess their physical activity level from before the stroke.

Findings showed that seniors who were inactive before their stroke were twice as likely to suffer a moderate or severe stroke than those who engaged in light activity (defined as walking for at least four hours a week) or moderate activity (defined as swimming, walking briskly or running for two to three hours a week).

“Stroke is a major cause of serious disability, so finding ways to prevent stroke or reduce the disability caused by stroke are important,” Katharina Sunnerhagen, study co-author, University of Gothenburg professor and chief physician at the school’s Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, said in a Sept. 19 press release. “While exercise benefits health in many ways, our research suggests that even simply getting in a small amount of physical activity each week may have a big impact later by possibly reducing the severity of a stroke.”

The study was published online Sept. 19 in AAN’s journal Neurology.

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