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Sweating During Exercise Can Reduce Stroke Risk

Update Date: Jul 19, 2013 11:17 AM EDT

In a new study, researchers report that people who exercise regularly and break a sweat during these routines are lowering their chances of a stroke. Although people might assume that exercise always results in sweat, that is not the case, which is why this study chose to specify the type of exercise and the variable of sweat. The study evaluated different modes of exercising and sweat levels to identify preventable measures for strokes.

"The stroke-lowering benefits of physical activity are related to its impact on other risk factors," the study's author, Michelle McDonnell, Ph.D. said according to the press release. McDonnell is a lecturer at the School of Health Sciences in the International Center for Allied Health Evidence at the University of South Australia.  "Exercise reduces blood pressure, weight and diabetes. If exercise was a pill, you'd be taking one pill to treat four to five different conditions."

For this study, the researchers looked at over 27,000 Americans who were 45-years-old or older. They were followed for an average of 5.7 years. Of this sample set, one-third admitted being inactive, which meant that they exercised less than once a week. This group was 20 percent more likely to suffer from a stroke or a mini stroke when compared to people who exercised moderately or vigorously. The researchers did not conclude any benefits of exercising at a low-intensity without sweating. In terms of sexes, the researchers found that men who exercised moderately or vigorously four or more times a week had a lowered risk of a stroke. For women, the researchers admitted that the association between stroke and activity level and frequency was not as clear.

The research data was taken from the Reasons for Geographic and Ethnic Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) study. The participants were composed of people from different backgrounds and different regions of the nation. Although the study found strong evidence that physical inactivity increases stroke risk, the researchers believe that more studies need to be conducted to determine the exact risk involved. The American Heart Association currently recommends all adults from the ages of 18 to 65 exercise moderately to intensely for at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week or vigorously for 20 minutes a day three times a week.

"We can tell you how much your stroke risk improves for each cigarette you cut out or every point you reduce your blood pressure, but we still need good studies on the amount you can reduce your risk of stroke by taking up exercise," McDonnell said.

The study was published in the journal, Stroke

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