Light Exercise Might Lessen Stroke Severity, Study Indicates
People who regularly engage in light to moderate physical activity — like walking four hours a week or swimming two hours weekly — might have less severe strokes than individuals who aren’t as active, a Swedish study suggests.
Researchers examined data on 925 patients who were treated for strokes at Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Gothenburg, Sweden, between 2014 and 2016. Overall, four in five of these patients had mild strokes.
Slightly more than half of the patients were inactive before their strokes. Compared with this inactive group, people who got at least some exercise before their strokes were twice as likely to have mild strokes, researchers reported in Neurology.
We knew from earlier research that physical activity could reduce stroke incidence, lead study author Malin Reinholdsson of the University of Gothenburg said by email. "However, whether or not pre-stroke physical activity could also influence stroke severity was not clear."
Patients in the study were 73 years old on average and most of them had what’s known as an ischemic stroke, the most common kind, which occurs when a clot blocks an artery carrying blood to the brain. About 6 percent of patients had hemorrhagic strokes, a less common type that is caused by a ruptured blood vessel in the brain.