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Physical Fitness is Risk Factor for Stroke
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3rd Feb, 2010 | Source :

By Taryn Fort

For many people, the winter months are often the hardest to remain motivated about our commitment to regular physical fitness. Most people associate becoming more physically active with losing weight, but it can also prevent stroke, the third leading cause of death. In some cases, studies have shown that regular physical activity (five times a week) can cut stroke risk in half.

Up to 80 percent of strokes can be prevented by making simple lifestyle changes, including becoming more physically active. National Stroke Association recommends that everyone try to exercise at least five times a week. Even if you aren’t used to daily exercise, it’s never too late to start. Plus, incorporating physical activity into your daily life during the winter will make it much easier to continue and even build upon your exercise regimen once spring and summer

The key to starting an exercise regimen is to figure out what works best for you. Exercise isn't just walking on a treadmill or riding a stationary bike. Here are a few ideas for including physical activity every day:

  • Begin with small changes such as parking your car farther away in the lot and taking the stairs rather than elevators or escalators.
  • Take a brisk walk for as little as 30 minutes a day during your lunch break or after work at a local mall or indoor gym.
  • Get a partner – engage a friend or loved one who is also committed to regular exercise.
  • Join a gym – they often offer multiple types of indoor activities to fit a busy daily schedule. Take up new activities such as yoga, swimming, tennis, dance, or aerobics.
  • Figure out when you are most motivated during the day to exercise. Some people do better early in the morning than at night.
  • Work out with the kids – many new video games, including the Wii, feature engaging and fun physical activity-oriented games such as dancing and bowling.
  • Make your weekend errands an exercise outing. Need to return books to the local library or pick up a few groceries at the local supermarket? Bundle up and walk!

For more information about how to prevent stroke and other ways to lose weight and stay physically active, visit www.stroke.org/dietexercise


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