Men's health * 50+ health

Jogging and swimming cuts stroke risk in men

Zone default image But not golf or bowls

Moderate-to-high intensity exercise such as jogging, tennis or swimming may cut the risk of stroke in older men by as much as two-thirds, but not in women, new research has found.

The study involved 3,298 men and women from New York, with an average age of 69. Of these, 21% said they took part in moderate to high intensity exercise on a regular basis, compared with 41% who never exercised.

Over a nine year period 238 of participants had a stroke

The results, published in this month's Neurology journal, showed that men who took part in moderate-to-high intensity exercise were 63% less likely to have a stroke compared with those who never exercised.

But light physical exercise such as bowls or golf had little effect.

And exercise was not found to have a protective effect against stroke in women. Women who took part in moderate-to-high intensity exercise did not have a reduced risk of stroke.

"Taking part in moderate-to-heavy intensity physical activity may be an important factor in preventing stroke," said Dr. Joshua Z. Willey from Columbia University Medical Centre and New York Presbyterian Hospital, who led the study.

"A large percentage of the participants were not taking part in any physical activities. This may be true of many elderly people who live in cities. Identifying ways to improve physical activity among these people may be a key goal for public health."

Each year an estimated 150,000 people have a stroke in the UK each year, and 67,000 die as a result. After heart disease and cancer, stroke is the most common cause of death in the UK.

More information

Stroke warning signs

This article was published on Tue 24 November 2009

Image © James Steidl -

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