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Study reveals an easy way to reduce risk of early death from stroke by more than 50%

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According to a new study published in the American Academy of Neurology’s medical journal, people who walk or garden for at least three to four hours per week, or bike for at least two to three hours per week, or the equivalent, after having a stroke may have a 54 percent lower risk of death from any cause, with the benefit being greatest for younger stroke survivors.

When people under the age of 75 engaged in at least that amount of physical activity, their risk of death was reduced by 80%.

The study examined 895 individuals with an average age of 72 who had previously suffered a stroke and 97,805 individuals with an average age of 63 who had never suffered a stroke.

Weekly physical activity was determined using questions about walking, running, gardening, strength training, bicycling, and swimming.

For instance, individuals were questioned about how many times did they walk for exercise? About how much time did they spend on each occasion? The researchers calculated the amount of exercise by examining the frequency and duration of each type of physical activity.

Researchers tracked 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 percent of the people who had previous strokes died from any cause, compared to 6 percent of the people who had never had a stroke.

In the stroke group, 15 percent of those who exercised at least the equivalent of three to four hours of walking per week died during follow-up, compared to 33% of those who did not exercise at all. In the group of people who had never had a stroke, 4 percent of those who exercised that much died, compared to 8 percent of those who did not.

Researchers discovered that people who had a previous stroke but were under 75 years old had the greatest reduction in death rate. In that group, 11% of those who exercised at least the bare minimum died, compared to 29% of those who did not.

People with a history of stroke who were under 75 years old and engaged in at least moderate physical activity were about 80% less likely to die during the study’s follow-up than those who did not. People over the age of 75 who exercised the bare minimum saw less of a benefit, but were still 32% less likely to die.

The study’s limitation is that participants may not have accurately reported their level of exercise.

Image Credit: Getty

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