When the legendary golfer and golf course designer Robert Trent Jones woke up in the hospital after suffering a stroke, he asked what was happening. "You had a stroke," one of his sons said. To which Jones replied, "Do I have to count it?''
Walking the 7,000-plus yards of a golf course was an almost-daily part of his life (he lived to be 93), and he was living proof of what recent studies confirm: Walking is a great (although not certain) way to postpone heart and artery troubles. And once you have a heart attack or stroke, walking can be a safe and effective way to regain your strength and protect yourself from future cardio problems.
Stroke survivors who put in 30 minutes of walking (with or without a cane) three times a week boost their quality of life. Their endurance is 20 percent greater than folks who don't walk regularly. Walking is inexpensive, improves respiration and circulation, controls blood pressure and helps keep weight and lousy LDL cholesterol in check; all important for restoring your health.
So, if you or a loved one has had a stroke, check out our progressive walking program (step by step at RealAge.com). It starts out slowly and aims for an increase in distance and endurance every six weeks. If you are up for it, during the first six weeks, try to build up to a total of 3,000 steps per day divided between two walking sessions - as long as your doctor says it's OK to play through.