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Exercise protects brain from silent strokes

Jogging, swimming, biking or other moderate to intense physical activity protects the brain from silent strokes.

Exercise protects brain from silent strokes

Jogging, swimming, biking or other moderate to intense physical activity protects the brain from silent strokes, or small brain lesions that can lead to mental decline and raises the chances of a future stroke.

These silent strokes are more significant than the name implies because they have been associated with high risk of falls and impaired mobility, memory problems and even dementia, as well as stroke. Encouraging older people to take part in moderate to intense exercise may be an important strategy for keeping their brains healthy.

Researchers compiled information on the exercise habits of 1,238 American people who had never had a stroke. About 43 percent said they did no regular exercise; 36 percent did light physical activity, such as playing golf or walking; and 21 percent said they did moderate to intense exercise, such as playing tennis, swimming, racquetball, hiking or jogging on a regular basis. About six years later, researchers scanned the brains of the participants, who by then averaged 70 years old. The scans revealed that 16 percent had experienced silent strokes.

It was found that those who reported engaging in moderate to intense activity were 40 percent less likely to have developed these small brain lesions than their sedentary counterparts. There was no difference in the likelihood of brain lesions between those who engaged in light exercise and those who did no regular physical activity.
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