Walking, lifting weights, swimming: Here are tips to reduce chances of an early death and stroke
In the case of women, those who walk at least three hours a week have a chance as high as 43 percent to never have a stroke
All it takes to avoid a stroke is walking diligently for 30 minutes a day. Not just that, it can reduce the risk of death in patients who have survived a stroke by 54 percent. A new study conducted by The University of Calgary in Canada, published in the Medical Journal of the American Academy of Neurology, backs this up.
In the case of women, those who walk at least three hours a week have a chance as high as 43 percent to never have a stroke. “Walking is gentle and gradual. It can never spike your blood pressure as high-intensity exercises do,” says Dr Kadam Nagpal, Senior Consultant, Neurology, PSRI Hospital, Delhi.
If walking is not your cup of tea, try gardening or using mild weights. Cycling and swimming are good too as all these reduce the chance of an early death by 54 percent. A special benefit is drawn by younger stroke survivors, as their risk of dying early is reduced by 80 percent. “Studies have postulated the role of exercise and neuroplasticity.
Neuroplasticity is a rewiring and reorganising process, wherein the healthy part of the brain compensates for the damage of brain cell tissues or neurons. In this process, the surviving and healthy brain cells start compensating for the damaged cells. In many patients, the stroke might result in prolonged disability. Walk minimises the chances of a disability and, hence, reduces cause for long-term morbidity and mortality,” says Nagpal.
Physical activity, especially walking is known to improve cardiorespiratory function. Usually, a reduced degree of activity is found among stroke survivors for various reasons, which can be a weakness of the body’s deranged cognitive function and post-stroke depression. “Walking is known to improve many risk factors like turbulent blood glucose levels, maintaining good cholesterol (high-density lipoproteins) and high blood pressure, especially the systolic one. These are the important factors for the survival and chances for stroke recurrences also can be reduced,” says Dr Sreekanta Swamy, Head of Neurology, Aster RV Hospital, JP Nagar, Bengaluru.
Also, walk helps strengthen brain tissues, which makes the brain resistant to stress and ageing. Exercises boost cerebrospinal fluid wash, which helps clear the waste and improves blood and oxygen flow to brain cells. So lace up and get walking.
“Walking increases the release of BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor), which helps in the repair mechanism of injured nerves.”
Dr Sreekanta Swamy, Head of Neurology, Aster RV Hospital, JP Nagar, Bengaluru