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Midlife fitness cuts strokes


THE FITTER people are when they reach middle age, the less likely they are to suffer a later-in-life

stroke, according to US re- search out last month.

The findings, published in a journal of the American Heart Association, are based on a study of nearly 20,000 adults aged 45 to 50.

The individuals, 79 per cent of whom were men and 90 per cent were white, were sub- jected to tests to meas- ure their heart and lung exercise capacity.

They were subsequently ranked as having either a high, middle or low level of fitness.

The study determined that those with the highest fitness level had a 37 per cent lower risk of suffering a stroke after the age of 65 compared to those in the lowest fitness category.

Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the US and a major cause of

longterm

disability.

The link between physical fitness and a lower chance of having a stroke remained even after other risk factors – including high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and an irregular heartbeat known as atrial fibrillation – were considered.

“These findings sup- port the unique and independent role of exercise in the preven- tion of stroke,” said senior study author Jarett Berry, an associ- ate professor of inter- nal medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

The findings are published in the American Heart Association’s journal

Stroke.