Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Even Moderate Fitness Reduces the Risk of Stroke

A recent study performed by the University of South Carolina’s Prevention Research center used data from a prior study of nearly sixty thousand individuals at the Cooper Aerobics Center in Dallas. This study involved an initial treadmill test and, afterwards, periodic health surveys conducted over nearly eighteen years.

The Prevention Research Center divided the large group into four smaller groups according to their level of fitness and determined how many individuals from the group had suffered strokes. Over all, 863 individuals had strokes, 692 men and 171 women.

The study determined that men from the most fit group were about forty percent less likely to have a stroke than the men who were in the least fit group. The results for women were even more indicative of the importance of fitness with regard to stroke risk. Women from the most fit group were 43 percent less likely to have a stroke than their least fit counterparts.

Even those with moderate fitness enjoy a reduced risk of stroke. For instance, the risk for moderately fit men was reduced by 15 to 30 percent. The results were even better for women who were moderately fit.

The risk of stroke was lower even when other factors such as weight, smoking, diabetes, hypertension and family history were considered. The research indicated that fitness is an overall indicator of stroke risk.

Most medical professionals and health institutions recommend moderate physical activity for thirty minutes daily. This study and its recommendation of thirty minutes of moderate physical activity are consistent with the recommendations of the Stroke Center at Duke University.

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