While men who were physically active had fewer strokes, cardiorespiratory fitness was shown to be a more reliable predictor of stroke risk. Researchers analyzed data on 45,706 men aged 18 to 100 years, grouped as having low, moderate or high levels of cardiorespiratory fitness as measured by a maximal treadmill exercise test.
Based on self-reported information, participants were deemed as sedentary, walker-jogger-runners, or sports participants. The study was controlled for age, cholesterol levels, diabetes, smoking, alcohol use and family history of cardiovascular disease.
The rate of fatal stroke among low-fit men was 3.2 per 10,000 man-years, compared with 2.0 for both moderately and highly fit men. Non-fatal stroke rates were 10.8, 8.9 and 6.4 for low, moderate and high fitness levels, respectively. Incidence of total stroke showed a strong inverse relationship with increasing levels of fitness. While men who ran, jogged, walked or played sports tended to have higher fitness levels, activity levels alone were not an independent predictor of stroke risk.
“These findings suggest that health professionals might consider assessing their patients’ cardiorespiratory fitness and counseling them to improve fitness levels to prevent stroke,” said John Sieverdes, lead researcher for the study. “While physical activity has been shown to reduce health risks, this study concluded that fitness level was closely associated with stroke prevention.”
Participants were enrolled in the Aerobics Center Longitudinal Study in Dallas, Texas between 1970 and 2001 and had no history of stroke, myocardial infarction or cancer at their baseline visit. The study was supported by a grant from the National Swimming Pool Foundation.
The conclusions outlined in this news release are those of the researchers only, and should not be construed as an official statement of the American College of Sports Medicine.
|cardiorespiratory fitness, stroke risk and fitness, exercise and stroke risk|