Stroke: Every hour of doing a certain activity could boost your risk by 14% – study

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It’s natural to slow down as you get older. From taking your time with a novel to watching your favourite TV show, there are plenty of reasons to sit down. However, a study, published in the journal JAMA Network Open, found that sedentary activities could compromise your health.

The research shared that every hour spent sitting down in your 60s and 70s increases your risk of a stroke by 14 percent.

Anything from watching telly to relaxing could make you more likely to develop the severe condition.

What’s worse, the more people were sitting down, the greater their risk was.

Those who barely moved for 13 hours or more of their day were 44 percent more likely to suffer a stroke compared to those who spent less than 11 hours doing sedentary activities.

Fortunately, one of the best-known lifestyle interventions for cutting your risk is movement.

The study found that doing just 25 minutes of moderate exercise per day was able to reduce the risk of a stroke by more than 40 percent.

In case you’re not aware, moderate exercise describes the likes of brisk walking or cycling.

This study adds to the past research that’s proven that sedentary behaviour could lead to fatty substances building up in your arteries.

Consequently, this build-up puts you at a higher risk of cardiovascular diseases.

A different study, from the University of Cambridge and the University of Hong Kong, suggested that if people watched TV for less than one hour each day, 11 percent of coronary heart disease cases could be prevented.

How was the data collected?

The stroke research attached movement tracking devices to 7,607 American men and women, with an average age of 63.

They were asked to wear a hip-mounted accelerometer, which tracked how much they moved and at what intensity.

The subjects had to have the device attached during waking hours but they were allowed to take it off for eight hours at night.

The researchers then calculated the time spent being sedentary, doing light physical activity, or doing a more intense activity.

They defined sedentary behaviour as sitting in a chair, lying on a couch or even standing for long periods.

The research team found that people who were the most sedentary had the highest risk of a stroke.

However, the study also reported some limitations like the accelerometers not recording any physical activity from the waist up.

The devices also only captured a seven-day snapshot of a person’s activity levels which could change over the follow-up period.

What are the symptoms of a stroke?

The NHS notes that the symptoms and signs form the acronym FAST.

Here’s what to look for:

  • Face – the face may droop on one side, the person may not be able to smile, or their mouth or eye may droop
  • Arms – the person may not be able to lift both arms and keep them there because of weakness or numbness in one arm
  • Speech – their speech may be slurred or garbled, or the person may not be able to talk at all; they may also have problems understanding what you’re saying
  • Time – stands for time to dial 999 immediately if you notice any of these signs or symptoms.

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