Exercise Can Reduce The Risk Of Stroke A stroke occurs when oxygen to the brain is restricted and parts of the brain become damaged and start to die off. Strokes can cause long term paralysis, brain damage and in the most severe cases can be fatal. The effect and severity of a stroke is determined by the location of the damage to the brain and how quickly medical help is sought. May is Stroke Awareness Month – Whilst strokes can occur for a number of reasons, there are ways that you can try to minimise your risk as much as possible. Leading an active lifestyle is just one of the ways. How exercise lowers your risk of stroke It is thought that exercising on a regular basis can reduce your chances of having a stroke by as much as 27%. High blood pressure and being overweight are two major contributing factors towards the cause of strokes, so addressing these by leading an active lifestyle ensures that your blood pressure is lowered and that you maintain a healthy weight too. How much exercise should you do? When it comes to exercise, you should aim to try and manage around 30 minutes of moderate exercise around five times a week. This doesn’t mean that you need to do 30 minutes at once, instead you can break it down into smaller blocks throughout the day. The aim should be to do aerobic exercise of moderate intensity, so exercise such as brisk walking or cycling, that will leave you breathless, having increased your heart rate, is ideal. Ways to encourage yourself to exercise more Exercise isn’t always everyone’s cup of tea, but there are ways that you can encourage yourself to do it more often. Try to find a form of exercise that you enjoy, if you enjoy it then you will be more likely to want to do it more often You can also try something new, as this means that you can learn a new skill! Why not exercise with someone else, having company can make it easier to exercise when you don’t really feel like it Reward yourself, if you do well and break through a wall that you have had, why not reward yourself? After all you have earnt it It is important to remember that exercise is not only great for reducing your risk of stroke, but for your health as a whole. Why is a healthy diet important? In addition to leading an active lifestyle, eating a balanced and healthy diet including a broad range of vegetables, fruit and wholegrains can help to keep your blood pressure and cholesterol levels in check. In turn this can help to prevent arteries from becoming clogged with fatty substances, restricting the oxygen flow to the brain. Need More Encouragement? Click here to find out more about our Get Active programme. Whether you want to reduce your risk of having a Stroke or have already had one and want some help managing your condition, we can help.