Regular physical activity is one of the hygiene and dietetic measures to be implemented post stroke, because it makes it possible to fight against overweight and hypertension, to reduce blood sugar and thrombotic risks and therefore acts directly on the risk of recurrence. In addition, this good habit promotes good recovery and good rehabilitation after stroke. A new study published in the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology thus shows that people walking or garden at least three to four hours a week, or cycle at least two to three hours a week after a stroke can have a 54% lower risk of death from any cause.
The scientific study found the most benefits for younger stroke survivors : When people under the age of 75 exercised at least this amount of exercise, their risk of death was reduced by 80%. “A better understanding of the role of physical activity in the health of stroke survivors is needed to design better exercise therapies and public health campaigns so that we can help these people live longer. “, Explains in a press release the lead author of the study, Prof. Raed A. Joundi, of the University of Calgary in Canada, and member of the American Academy of Neurology.
Three to four hours of walking a week makes a big difference
He adds: “our results are fascinating, because only three to four hours of walking per week were associated with strong reductions in mortality, and this may be achievable for many community members who have already had a stroke. The team also found that people got even more benefits from walking six to seven hours a week. The study included 895 people with an average age of 72 who had previously had a stroke and 97,805 people with an average age of 63 who had never had one. Weekly physical activity was assessed using questions on activities such as walking, running, cycling, gardening, weight training and swimming.
For example, participants were asked to answer the question: “In the past three months, how many times did you walk for exercise? And for how long? The researchers then used the frequency and duration of each type of physical activity to calculate the amount of exercise performed in total. The second part of the study consisted of following the participants for an average of four and a half years. After taking into account other factors that may affect the risk of death, such as age and smoking, the researchers found that 25% of people who have had a stroke died of any cause, compared to 6% of those who had never had one.
An even more beneficial habit for those under 75
In the “cerebrovascular accident” (CVA) group, 15% of people who had at least the equivalent of three to four hours of walking per week died during follow-up, compared to 33% who did not exercise this minimum. In the group of people who had never had a stroke, 4% of people who exercised died, compared to 8% who did not. In addition, the researchers found the greatest reduction in the death rate among people who had already had a stroke but aged less than 75 years: in this group, 11% of those who had at least the minimum of exercise died, compared to 29% of those who did not.
It turns out that people who have had a previous stroke, are under the age of 75 and have reached the minimum level of physical activity, were approximately 80% less likely to die during study follow-up. People over 75 who engaged in minimal physical activity experienced fewer benefits, but were still 32% less likely to die. “Minimal physical activity can reduce long-term mortality from any cause in stroke survivors. We should particularly emphasize this point for younger survivors, as they can get the most benefit for their health by walking only 30 minutes a day. », Concludes Professor Raed A. Joundi.