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Good fitness in midlife cuts risk of stroke in old age

 The fitter you are in your midlife, the lesser the chance of you suffering a stroke in old age, says a study led by an Indian-origin researcher, which reinforces the benefits of being physically fit throughout life.

The findings showed that those with the highest level of fitness have a 37 per cent lower risk of stroke after the age of 65, compared to their counterparts with the lowest level of fitness.

The association between fitness and stroke risks existed even in the presence of other chronic conditions and factors such as high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes and atrial fibrillation.

“Our research suggests that low fitness in midlife is an additional risk to target and help prevent stroke later in life,” said led author Ambarish Pandey from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Centre in the US.

In an observational study consisting of 19,815 adults ages 45 to 50 (79 percent men), the team measured participants’ heart and lung exercise capacity, cardiorespiratory fitness and categorised them as having either a high, middle or low level of fitness.

“The findings support the unique and independent role of exercise in the prevention of stroke,” added Jarett Berry, Associate Professor in the paper published in the journal Stroke.

Exercising thirty minutes a day or five times a week can boost overall cardiovascular health, suggested the American Heart Association.

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