Swimming, jogging or playing squash can help older people protect themselves against the risk of strokes, according to researchers.
Studies have shown that 64-year-olds who take part in moderate to intense exercise are much less likely to suffer “silent strokes”. These often-unnoticed events are caused by minor injuries to the brain which cause no major symptoms - but can herald a more lethal or disabling stroke.
The risk of such silent strokes was reduced by 40% in people who were reasonably active, compared with those who did not take exercise regularly, according to a study published in the journal Neurology.
A total of 1,238 men and woman who had never had a stroke previously provided details about their activities at the start of the study. When they were 70, they all undertook MRI scans to look for silent stroke signs.
A total of 43% said they took no regular exercise, with 36% taking part in light activity like golf or bowling, while 21% said they enjoyed more intense pursuits such as hiking or tennis. Scans showed that 16% had suffered silent strokes - but among the moderate to intense group, there was a 40% drop in the likelihood of suffering this problem.
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