Can Exercise Reduce the Risk of a Stroke?

From the Centre For Stroke Recovery
Edited by Barbara Gabogrecan

Exercise and strokeWith one in three people in Australia suffering from a stroke, it is essential that we all take what precautions we can to reduce the risk of having a stroke. It is also important to realise that even children can suffer from a stroke.

Babies can have a stroke while still in the womb and last week I met a grandmother whose 2 month old grandchild had a stroke. It is quite common for teenagers and those under the age of 30 to suffer a stroke – it is not just a disease of the elderly.

Exercise can not only reduce the risk of suffering from a stroke but it can assist those who have had a stroke from having another one. It is quite common for people to have a recurring stroke.

Not only does exercise assist with muscle building, bone strength and keeps the heart and lungs healthy, there is also evidence that exercise can improve the condition of the brain. The brain tries to heal itself and find ways to remove the barriers that stroke sufferers have. Exercise can assist the brain to do this.

There are no magic pills, but exercise does reduces the risk factor of recovering patients suffering a second stroke.

Hints and Tips from Barbara
Exercise does not have to be ‘over the top’ to be of value for our health. Try gentle hydrotherapy or simply walking. The difficulty many of us have is that we have other conditions like hips and knees that need replacing and can stop us from doing even simple exercises. Many do not have the funds to take part on regular hydrotherapy sessions – but don’t make excuses. Even sitting on a chair and doing some light dumbbell lifts can be of great benefit. 


This video shows an 80 year old stroke sufferer take up exercise to help with her recovery. There is also some good information made available via the Centre for Stroke Recovery.

29 thoughts on “Can Exercise Reduce the Risk of a Stroke?

  1. sarah keating

    I had a knee replacement last year and have continued a lot of the exercises I was doing in physical therapy and even increased upon them. It really does help in recovery.

    1. Barbara Gabogrecan Post author

      My husband also had a knee replacement and I was a strict task master re his exercises in the beginning. He then joined a special knee physio group and made a great recovery. You wouldn’t now know that he had anything wrong with his knee – yet he was in a wheelchair before the operation. My son now has to get his knee replaced too….so will have another round of exercises for me to push…. Barb

  2. Mona

    Great advice. Sometimes just walking in a pool will work wonders, without putting a lot of pressure on painful joints.

  3. Debbie Boulier

    Exercise can be extremely beneficial for a stroke patient as long as it’s not overdone. Some people will get exercises from their physio therapist, but you must start out low key and then work your way up to more strenuous exercises.

  4. Chris W.

    Exercise is a great way to reduce the risk of many diseases. I am glad to learn that exercise can also reduce the risk of getting a stroke. I, myself, love walking and was happy to hear that it has so many benefits as well. I have never been one to do heavy duty workouts.

  5. Cicilia E

    I read this article about a week ago.

    I’m 50 years old now (groan) and my mother had a stroke at the age of 59…..she was neglecting her health, eating horribly…

    I find myself in that same category as she was. I came back to the article to tell you I have started exercising (walking about 2 miles a day) and I find that without even trying my eating is getting better.

    I don’t want to have a stroke, no matter how minor (my moms was a mini stroke, but she never did regain total control of her right leg)….so thank you so much for this article and for opening my eyes.

    1. Barbara Gabogrecan Post author

      Good on you Cicillia! I remember 10 years ago when I had to have my hip replaced (after not being able to walk properly for 10 years before) I was really determined to start walking again. I had a large, flat backyard and walked around that as the soft grass was better for my hip than pavement would be. I ended up waling 10 kilometres a day – I was told to slow down or I would wear my hip out! But it was so good to be able to walk again! Barb

  6. Brandon A

    Great advice. I exercise frequently, and I would like to think this has played at least some part in helping me live a stroke-free life. As you said, even the smallest, least strenuous exercises can have a tremendous effect, and it’s all about finding the ones that are right for you.

  7. james

    This is great advice. I’m sure that many people think that you need to be a highly fit person to reduce your risk. Simply walking every day for 30 minutes can reduce your rise to suffering a stroke.

  8. Mike Teberio

    I think that exercise can definitely decrease the chances of having a stroke because the body is powerful thing and if you take care of it there should be less of a chance too have this type of thing happen there is many tips and hints in here you can use as well thank you for all the great information.

  9. Ana B.

    Exercise is so beneficial in general, and I agree that it doesn’t have to be high intensity to improve health. The findings that it lessens stroke risk and suffering is all the more reason to get your body moving.

  10. Kristina

    I had a stroke a few years ago and one of the things that the doctor told me was to exercise each day. It didn’t have to be anything strenuous, just walking for half an hour is enough. I have done it ever since. Great post.

  11. Ben McKinnon

    This is comparative to the chicken vs the egg conundrum in that too much exercise will make you ill vs exercise will help you regain your health.

    I agree that you have to exercise in accordance to your capabilities and ailments. Excluding it out of your daily activities is unnatural to your body and you are likely to introduce other detriments to your well-being.

  12. Jane

    Terrific article. Too many of us lead sedentary lives. This can lead to laziness and unhealthy eating patterns. Everyone should try and do some form of exercise. Walking is great. Can either be at a slow or brisk pace. Main objective is to be active through out the day instead of sitting on the couch.

  13. Rachel

    Exercise should be a regular part of everyone’s lives for health and wellbeing, people shouldn’t wait until *after* an event of some sort to actually do something about their health! Great advice.

  14. goodvillager

    I think many people underestimate or at least fail to think about the potential for stroke in favour of attention to heart disease. They fall in the same category of disease. There weren’t heart problems in my family, but one of my grandmothers suffered several strokes in later life. It was debilitating and ultimately ended in death. Exercise wasn’t a focus in those days, and I wonder whether there would have been a mitigating effect had she been more active…

    1. Barbara Gabogrecan Post author

      My next article will cover some of the risks to be aware of that can lead to a stroke. Of course, sometimes it just happens anyway. A doctor I knew who was into running and every morning ran on the beach, fell dead running one morning. He was in his late 30’s Barb

  15. simon nomicas

    I think this article is very helpful and the advice that is given is very good.It is good that someone like Barbara can actually help others in this way.

  16. Christ Loker

    This is totally true that the training would reduce the risk and the destroy. The training would develop their decision and personality develop that leads to have less mistakes and good performance.

  17. linda

    it is so true that exercise can help people stay health. i wish more people at risk of a stroke would read this

  18. lee hoskins

    I believe exercise is important for many reasons. I do believe it is possible that it can help stroke victims and to prevent strokes. Exercise is essential to a healthy life.

  19. Dylan

    You are right, there is no magic pill, we have to learn to live in moderation, and touch our toes a few more times a day.
    Thanks for the read.

  20. Ken P

    Exercise is a great form of prevention for many diseases including stroke. Not only does it help for that, but gives you more energy. And if you couple that with a healthy diet you reduce the risks of so many health threatening things

  21. sam ross

    As a person who has known someone who has had a stroke i can add that it is very wise to read up and listen to what Barbara has to say so as to be more aware of this illness.


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