Exercise in middle age could be key to reducing stroke risk

29 August 2017        

Category: BHF Comment

People who exercise in their middle age are less likely to suffer a stroke, according to research that was presented at the European Society of Cardiology congress today.

a cycle race taking place

Over 50 per cent less likely to have a stroke

Researchers at the University of Oslo, studied 1,400 men who had their fitness level tested every seven years.After 28 years, 35 per cent had become fitter while the rest had become less fit.

The quarter of men who had increased their fitness most were 56 per cent less likely to suffer a stroke than the quarter whose fitness had declined the most, even after adjusting for known risks such as blood pressure, weight and smoking.

UK guidelines recommend 150 minutes of exercise per week

Professor Jeremy Pearson, our associate medical director,said:

"This study reinforces the evidence that keeping fit at any age, including when we’re older, is an important way to reduce cardiovascular risk.

“Doing 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity a week is recommended in UK guidelines but most of us aren’t reaching this target. We would encourage people to take part in a form of exercise that they enjoy and that helps motivate them to achieve this.

“Exercise is just one element of a healthy lifestyle – combined with not smoking and eating a sensible diet – that is needed to reduce your cardiovascular risk as much as possible.”

Read more highlights from the ESC congress on our blog