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Exercise cuts stroke risk
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Older men who regularly jog, swim or engage in other moderate to high intensity exercise may have a lower risk of suffering a stroke than their less-active counterparts.

Regular exercise is a well established way to control body weight, blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and other risk factors for stroke. Some studies have found that physical activity may also lower stroke risk independent of these benefits. Still, as compared with heart disease, research has been less consistent in showing that exercise can prevent strokes.

To judge the effects of exercise on stroke risk, researchers followed 3,298 older adults living in New York; more than half were Hispanic, one-quarter were African-Americans and 20 native Americans. Overall, only a minority of men and women - 20 percent reported any moderate to high intensity activities, like jogging, swimming, bicycling or tennis. Almost 41 percent were completely sedentary.

It was found that men who did moderate to high intensity exercise were almost two-thirds less likely than sedentary men to suffer a stroke caused by a blood clot - the most common form of stroke. Lighter exercise, such as walking, did not show this benefit.

These findings highlight a need to find ways to encourage older urban adults to stay regularly active.

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