Science

Even moderate fitness levels lower stroke risk: study

New research finds both men and women can lower the risk of stroke by engaging in even moderate exercise.

New research finds both men and women can lower the risk of stroke by engaging in even moderate exercise.

Previous studies on fitness and strokes have focused more on men, but the new research says benefits apply to women, too.

The research data covers 61,000 adults at an aerobics centre in Dallas, who were followed for an average of 18 years.

The study found for those with moderate levels of fitness, the stroke risk went down by 15 to 30 per cent for men and 23 to 57 per cent for women.

The lower risks were true even considering such other risk factors as smoking, weight and high blood pressure.

Study leader Steven Hooker of the University of South Carolina's Prevention Research Centre says most people can become moderately fit by walking briskly for 30 minutes a day, five times a week.

Stroke is the third-leading cause of death in the U.S. and doctors say physical activity can help prevent blockages in blood vessels that can cause it.

In Canada, strokes kill 50,000 people a year, according to the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada.

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