Researchers have found that if men, when middle aged, get themselves in shape, they halve their risk of suffering from a stroke.
Researchers have said that even ‘couch potatoes’ that get themselves in shape during their 40s-50s are less likely to have a stroke than those who, whilst having been fit already, stopped working out when they become middle aged.
Facts & Stats
Dr Erik Prestgaard (of the University of Oslo) studied data gathered from a group of 1,400 men who had been recruited in the 70s. These men had their fitness tested every 7 years (having their breathing monitored while cycling).
After accounting for age, it was found that a third of these men had become fitter, while the rest had declined.
Over the 28 years in which the study took place, 199 participants suffered a stroke.
The data showed that those that had increased their fitness the most ( around a quarter of the men) more than halved their risk of having a stroke (56%). This is compared to those whose fitness declined the most, after accounting for known risks; blood pressure, weight and smoking.
Dr Prestgaard, quoted in the Times, stated the improvements were in unfit men who were “just getting themselves together”, rather than aiming to become extremely fit.
The research did also show that there was no significant difference between men who got in shape in their 40s-50s than those who maintained their fitness throughout their life.
Here are a few tips on how to get fit after 40:
- Make exercise part of your routine. Try and exercise around three times a week. Start of with a mixture of walking and running, even if it’s for ten minutes a time. Build it up from there.
- Enter an event (a fun run or something similar). This way you have a goal to aim for and it doesn’t feel as though you’re doing it for the sake of it.
- Do core stability exercises. Doing this reduces the risk of injuries and will give you better form.