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A stroke occurs when blood and oxygen are cut off from the brain. It can cause serious long-term disability and is the third leading cause of death in the U.S.
There are several things you can do to reduce your chance of stroke including a healthy diet, controlling your blood pressure and exercising.
And exercise, in the form of walking, has been proven to reduce the risk of stroke significantly.
A Harvard study of nearly 40,000 women over a 12-year period, tracked the participants’ physical activity, such as walking, running, swimming and dancing. The study found that those who walked two or more hours a week were less likely to have a stroke, as compared to the other recorded activities. The study also found that women who walked at a brisk pace had a 37 percent lower risk when compared to women who did not walk for exercise.
Another study by Harvard of 11,000 men reported that one hour of brisk walking five times a week lowered a man’s risk of stroke by half.
To determine if you are walking at a brisk rate, take the “talk test.” When walking briskly, you should be able to talk, but not sing. If you are out of breath and cannot carry on a conversation,, you are probably walking too fast and should slow down.
Know the Signs of Stroke
The National Stroke Association developed the F.A.S.T. test to help identify the signs of stoke so you know when to call 9-1-1. Treatment is available but it must be given as soon as symptoms appear, so quick action required:
F = FACE Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
A = ARMS Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
S = SPEECH Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. Does the speech sound slurred or strange?
T = TIME If you observe any of these signs (independently or together), call 9-1-1 immediately.