New research has claimed that exercise may significantly reduce the risk of strokes in older people. Experts found that 64-year-olds who take part in moderate-to-intense exercise on a regular basis have a lower chance of experiencing a vascular event than those who do not exercise.
Documented in the journal Neurology, the study suggested that older people may benefit from activities such as swimming, jogging or playing squash. Minor brain injuries cause ‘silent’ strokes, which in turn can lead to a disabling or lethal stroke. The study concluded that older people who get involved in physical activity are 40% less likely to suffer a silent stroke.
Some 1,238 men and women participated in the research. They provided information about their levels of exercise at the beginning of the study. Six years later, at an average age of 70, they underwent magnetic resonance imaging brain scans to find any signs of silent strokes.
A total of 43% participants reported that they took no regular exercise. A further 36% engaged in light activity, such as golf, walking, bowling or dancing, while 21% enjoyed moderate or intense pursuits including hiking, tennis, swimming, biking and squash.
The brain scans showed that 16% of all those recruited for the study had silent stroke lesions. But the moderate to intense group was 40% less likely to have had a small stroke than people who did only light amounts of exercise or none at all.