The Easy Activities That Reduce Stroke Risk

The light activities that a person can do to lower the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.

The light activities that a person can do to lower the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.

How unbearable is the thought of commuting nearly 400 miles a day or watching TV for 12 hours everyday?

Well, the thought is not that far from reality as most U.S. adults remain seated 12 hours of their daily life.

The mental and physical health conditions of a sedentary lifestyle are mostly known to us.

Sitting too long has been shown to increase the odds of many long-term diseases such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other health issues including fatigue, depression, anxiety, and dementia.

To overcome the serious damage caused by an inactive lifestyle, general health guidelines recommend adults do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise a week.

A study, though, has found that doing light activities such as household tasks during the day will lower the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Dr Steven Hooker, the study’s first author, said:

“Light-intensity physical activity can include vacuuming, sweeping the floor, washing the car, leisure strolling, stretching, or playing catch.

We observed that both physical activity and being sedentary independently impacted stroke risk.

Our research demonstrates that strategies for stroke prevention should focus on both.”

In this study, nearly 8,000 adults aged 45 and older were recruited and followed over seven years.

The research team calculated the amount of time subjects spent sitting down and the intensity of physical activity.

To measure and record physical activity and sedentary time, participants had to wear a hip-mounted accelerometer during the day.

Next, they looked at the number of strokes that occurred during seven years of follow-up.

The results showed that participants who were inactive for 13 hours or longer throughout the day were 44 percent more likely to have a stroke.

Dr Hooker said:

“The findings are more potent because the activity and sedentary behaviors were measured with an accelerometer, providing substantially more accurate data than previous studies that relied on self-reported measures.”

According to U.S. national data from 2010 to 2015 published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 23 percent of adults met the guidelines for both aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities.

A different  study suggests that walking 7,000 steps (5.6 km or 3 miles) each day lowers the risk of death by about two-thirds in adults.

If doing so is not practical then exercising or taking part in light to moderate intensity activities for 10 minutes several times a day would help a lot to lower the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Dr Hooker said:

“For overall heart and brain health, move more within your capacity, and sit less.”

The study was published in JAMA Network Open (Hooker et al., 2022).

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