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How exercise can help prevent a stroke...

A stroke is caused when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off. There are two main causes for a stroke;

  1. where the blood supply is stopped due to a blood clot (ischemic), or

  2. where a weakened blood vessel suppling the brain bursts (haemorrhagic).

High blood pressure, known as hypertension, is the leading condition for the increased risk of stroke and is a caused when the blood vessels have persistently high pressure. Blood is carried from the heart to all parts of the body in blood vessels (such as arteries) and the pressure is created by the force of the blood pushing against the blood vessel walls. The higher the pressure, the harder the heart is having to work.

How does exercise help?

Exercise can help reduce the chance of stroke by lowering your blood pressure and also controlling other factors that put you at risk (such as high cholesterol, obesity and diabetes).

The best type of exercise for hypertension is aerobic exercise, which uses the cardio respiratory systems and large skeletal muscle groups. Some good examples of aerobic activity include;

  1. Walking/hiking/running

  2. Cycling

  3. Swimming

  4. Dancing

Exercise not only helps to lower blood pressure, it also helps with; reducing cholesterol levels, stabilising blood sugar and keeping your heart strong and healthy - after all, it is a muscle... the more it’s trained, the stronger it gets! So, swap your next Netflix or BBC drama for a brisk walk and improve your hearts health!