To keep your cardiovascular system healthy, and reduce your chance of having a stroke, you should incorporate physical activity into your life. Studies show that exercise has a positive effect on chronic health problems. What type of exercise, how much, and how hard you should work out varies from person to person. Here is more information about the effects of exercise on strokes, and tips on becoming more physically active.

How Does Exercise Help Prevent Strokes?

Exercise is good for the heart and cardiovascular system overall. It helps lower blood pressure and can help reduce cholesterol in most people. You are less likely to be overweight or obese and have diabetes when you exercise regularly and have a good diet. All of these are risk factors for strokes.

What Kinds of Exercise Are Best for Stroke Prevention?

Any exercise that you can do regularly and enjoy, or at least tolerate, is the right exercise. Incorporate a wide variety of exercises that are both cardio and weight training. If you don't have a lot of time, then do your exercise in short intervals, such as during a break. Don't worry about joining a gym or buying a lot of equipment until you have been exercising for a while and know that you will use them.

How Much Exercise is Effective?

Exercise recommendations have varied over the years. The latest recommendations from the American Heart Association say that adults should do at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise and 75 minutes of intense exercise per week. Moderate exercise includes brisk walking, cycling at a comfortable pace, and tennis. Vigorous exercise includes running, hiking uphill, or swimming laps. Be careful of extreme exercise if you are at a higher risk of stroke.

Can You Exercise After a Stroke?

The answer to this question is: Perhaps. Whether or not you can exercise after a stroke depends on your stroke's severity and if you have any brain damage. Exercise may be beneficial after a stroke and help you recover faster. Talk to your doctor about limits as well as recommendations. If your stroke was severe, then you may need special therapy to help you recover.

If you are new to exercise, and you are at a higher risk of stroke, then talk to your doctor. He or she may want to do additional tests to ensure that you are healthy enough for the type of exercise you want to do. Start out slowly and increase the intensity gradually, at first. Stop if you don't "feel right." Hopefully, with good exercise habits and diet, you will never suffer a stroke. See a stroke specialist if you have questions about strokes and exercise.