How much exercising do you actually have to do to reduce your risk of stroke?
That depends on your gender.
For women, walking briskly about three and a half hours a week lowers risk by 43 percent.1 That’s just a 30 minute walk each day. Not a bad trade for cutting your odds of having a stroke almost in half. Walking briskly means going at the same pace you would as if you were late for an appointment. It’s not a jog, but it’s not a stroll either.
But moderate exercise just doesn’t protect men from stroke the same way. A brisk walk won’t give the same benefits.
|If you or a loved one were having a stroke, would you know how to spot it? Here are three quick tests to help quickly assess the situation:
1. Ask the person to smile. If one side of the face it weaker, it could be a sign.
2. Tell him to shut his eyes and raise his hands above his head. If the arms don’t lift to about the same height, there may be a problem.
3. Have the patient repeat a simple sentence. Try, “Don’t cry over spilled milk.” If the person’s speech is slurred, that’s another sign of stroke.3 Also be on the lookout for sudden confusion or difficulty with speech, headache, dizziness, or sight issues.4
Turning up the intensity of your workouts lowers your risk of suffering a stroke by 63 percent.2
The good news is that it only takes 12 minutes. A program like Dr. Sears’ PACE combines short bursts of maximum effort, brief rest, and escalating difficulty for 12 total minutes. Not exactly a huge commitment to make when you consider how debilitating a stroke can be to your health—and your independence.
Keep in mind that high intensity doesn’t mean working until you collapse. It means challenging yourself to be a little faster or push a little harder. To give it all you have. High intensity interval training (HIIT) is a great way to do this.
You can do interval training with any cardio exercise. You alternate your intensity levels by working at a moderate level and then going all out at the highest intensity you can. One example is walking briskly for two minutes, then running for one minute and repeating the cycle for 12 minutes.
We do recommend HIIT training for women too. It helps with fat-burning and weight loss. But it’s better for men who want to reduce their risk of having a stroke.