A recent study in the American Heart Association’s journal Stroke finds the more fit you are in midlife, the lower your stroke risk later in life. The research included nearly 20,000 adults between the ages of 45-50. The participant’s cardiorespiratory fitness was measured and the researchers categorized them as having either a high, medium, or low level of fitness. Those with the highest level of fitness have a 37 percent lower risk of stroke after age 65 when compared to those in the low level of fitness category.
Stroke is the No. 5 cause of death in the United States and a leading cause of serious long-term disability. The study reinforces the benefits of being physically fit throughout life and not just at a young age.
Study authors hope more physicians will consider low fitness level a stroke risk factor, in addition to diabetes, high blood pressure, and others. The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise weekly. As a rule of thumb, exercise thirty minutes a day, five times a week, for better overall cardiovascular health.
Source: Pandey A, Patel M, Willis B, et al. Association Between Midlife Cardiorespiratory Fitness and Risk of Stroke: The Cooper Center Longitudinal Study. Stroke, Published online before print June 9, 2016, doi: 10.1161/STROKEAHA.115.011532.