Physical activity reduces stroke risk

Family physicians have a major responsibility to their patients to help them promote their general health, both physical and mental. Patients tend to require more frequent visits as they age, giving multiple possibilities for physicians to apply the latest medical research to promote patients’ well-being. In the past several years, research has shown physical activity and fitness to be major determinants of health. As recommended by the Exercise Is Medicine™ (EIM) initiative, exercise needs to be established as a vital sign and assessed at all doctor’s visits. In our recent study, we found a strong inverse relationship between cardiorespiratory fitness and incident stroke. In fact, there was a 60% lower stroke incidence in the high-fitness group compared with the low-fitness group. We know from prior studies that individuals can improve fitness by participating in regular physical activity. Numerous studies provide strong evidence that physical activity and fitness protect against numerous health problems. It is unlikely that there will ever be a pill that provides the multiple benefits of regular physical activity.

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