Individuals who walk at least 30 minutes a day have a lower risk of severe stroke
01/04/2019 // Michelle Simmons // Views

Recent research shows that you can prevent stroke by doing light exercises. The study, performed in Sweden and published in the journal Neurology, suggested that walking for at least 30 minutes every day may cut your risk of stroke.

A stroke occurs when a blood vessel carrying oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot or bursts. As a result, part of the brain cannot get enough blood and oxygen, causing brain cells to die. Stroke affects the arteries that lead to and are within the brain. In the U.S., it is the fifth leading cause of death, killing about 140,000 Americans each year. It is also a leading cause of disability. (Related: Stroke now impacting younger patients as a result of the obesity epidemic; 4 in 10 are now aged 40-69.)

The study's researchers recruited 925 patients with a first clinical stroke admitted to Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Gothenburg, Sweden from 2014 to 2016. The average age of the participants was 73 years at the time of becoming ill. They looked at the participants' stroke severity based on data from two Swedish stroke resisters. Stroke severity was assessed based on eye, arm and facial movements, awareness level, and speech and communication abilities. Four out of five patients or 79.8 percent of the participants had a mild form of stroke.

Those who suffered from a stroke reported on how physically active they were before the stroke occurred. Fifty-two percent reported that they had been physically inactive.

Participants who reported that they were engaged in light physical activity, such as taking a walk for four hours or more each week, or moderate exercises, such as running or swimming two to three hours each week, tend to suffer from milder strokes rather than severe strokes. Light physical activity and moderate physical activity were found to be equally beneficial.


When the researchers considered other factors, such as age, gender, diabetes, and smoking, they found that physical activity combined with lower age accounts for about seven percent of the association with stroke severity.

"It’s enough if you walk for a bit more than half an hour every day, or two 15-minute walks a day, to end up in the group with reduced risk of your stroke becoming severe," said Katharina Stibrant Sunnerhagen of the University of Gothenburg.

Benefits of 30-minutes of daily exercise

Engaging in 30 minutes of physical activity every day can do wonders for your health. Here are some of the health benefits:

  • It aids in weight management: Daily exercise of at least 30-minutes can help prevent weight gain or maintain a healthy weight. If you want to burn more calories, engage in high-intensity exercises. You can also take a walk to work or take the stairs if you don't have time to go to the gym and exercise.
  • It fights stress: Too much stress can take a toll on your health. Exercise can serve as a stress reducer. It increases norepinephrine, which regulates the brain's response to stress and stressful situations.
  • It boosts mood: A 30-minute high-intensity interval workout will stimulate brain chemicals that will make you feel happier and more relaxed.
  • It makes you more energized: Exercising for half an hour boosts not only your mood but also your energy levels. This is because more oxygen and nutrients are being delivered to your muscle tissues during exercise.
  • It enhances memory: Trekking around your neighborhood for 30 minutes will help improve your memory. This is because exercise promotes the production of cells in the hippocampus that play a role in memory and learning.

Read more news stories and studies on preventing stroke by going to

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