Living well Your Health & Wellness

Another reason to exercise: It lowers your risk of stroke

Written by Diane Archer

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), stroke is the third leading cause of death and a major cause of serious disability. Age is the greatest risk factor for stroke. After age 55, the risk of stroke doubles every ten years. But, exercise lowers your risk of stroke, as do other healthy behaviors.

To lower your risk of stroke, the National Institute on Aging advises that you check your blood pressure and cholesterol and treat them if they are high. High blood pressure can double or quadruple your risk of stroke. To lower your blood pressure, eat lots of fruits and vegetables and other food that is low in cholesterol and saturated fats; eat less salt; and, don’t smoke.  (Medicare covers smoking-cessation counseling as well as nutrition counseling.)

Also, exercise!  You can take a brisk walk several times a week, ideally for at least 20 minutes every day, or swim or ride a bike.  According to the NIH, you might want to try these balancing exercises, as well. It all helps.

If you are overweight, try to lose weight. Even if you lose only a small amount of weight, it can seriously decrease your risk of stroke. Harvard Health recommends that you limit your daily calorie intake to less than 2,000 and exercise more.

For more information from the NIH on how to get started exercising and the kinds of exercise you might try, click here.

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  • These are helpful hints that nonetheless omit the most important factor for preventing stroke. Dr, Dean Ornish has medically and scientifically proven that heart disease is completely reversible. In the process of eating his proscribed Whole Foods Plant Based diet the same bad indicators – high blood pressure, high cholesterol etc are radically reduced and the damaged arteries are returned to normal allowing proper blood flow greatly reducing (if not entirely eliminating the risk of heart attack or stroke). A great documentary (available on Netflix), “What the Health” explores the common physiological factors involved with our most common killers, how to recover and most importantly why we aren’t hearing about the amazing results.

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