Moderate-to-heavy exercise cuts risk of stroke in men

Washington, Nov 24 ( Men who regularly jog, play tennis or go swimming may be less likely to have a stroke than people who walk, golf or go bowling, says a new study.

A stroke occurs when blood supply to part of the brain is disrupted, causing brain cells to die.

The study involved 3,298 people living in northern Manhattan, New York, with an average age of 69 who were followed for about nine years. During that time, there were 238 strokes.

A total of 41 percent of the participants reported that they participated in no physical activity. Twenty percent regularly participated in moderate-to-heavy intensity activities.

Men who participated in moderate-to-heavy intensity activities were 63 percent less likely to have a stroke than people with no physical activity.

“Taking part in moderate-to-heavy intensity physical activity may be an important factor in preventing stroke,” said study author Joshua Z. Willey, Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC).

Willey, who is also a member of the American Academy of Neurology, said “A large percentage of the participants were not taking part in any physical activities.”

“This may be true of many elderly people who live in cities. Identifying ways to improve physical activity among these people may be a key goal for public health.”

These results are contrary to some other studies that found that even light intensity physical activity reduced the risk of stroke. Stroke is the leading cause of disability and the third-leading cause of death in the US, said a CUMC release.

These findings were published in the Tuesday issue of Neurology.