After a stroke, survivors can greatly increase their odds for many more years of life through activities as easy as a half-hour’s stroll each day, new research shows.
The nearly five-year-long Canadian study found that stroke survivors who walked or gardened at least three to four hours a week (about 30 minutes a day), cycled at least two to three hours per week, or got an equivalent amount of exercise had a 54 percent lower risk of death from any cause.
The benefits were highest among younger stroke survivors. Those younger than 75 who did at least that much physical activity had an 80 percent lower risk of death, according to the study.
“We should particularly emphasize [physical activity] to stroke survivors who are younger in age, as they may gain the greatest health benefits from walking just 30 minutes each day,” study author Dr. Raed Joundi, of the University of Calgary, says.
One U.S. expert in stroke care says more needs to be done to help people who survive a stroke get active.
“It is important that stroke neurologists enroll their patients in exercise programs, because encouraging exercise/physical activity may not be sufficient,” Dr. Andrew Rogove, who directs stroke care at Northwell Health’s South Shore University Hospital in Bay Shore, N.Y., notes.
The new study included nearly 900 stroke survivors, average age 72, and more than 97,800 people, average age 63, who had never had a