Every 40 seconds, someone in the U.S. has a stroke, and according to the American Heart Association, between 10% and 15% of those happen to people 18 to 50 years old. In the past 10 years, incidents of strokes in younger people have skyrocketed by 40%.
Why? Increasing obesity, high blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol, Type 2 diabetes, smoking (or vaping), and lack of physical activity in younger people.
For example, obesity affects around 44% of those age 40 to 59. And more than 60% of U.S. adults don't get the minimum recommended amount of activity; 25% aren't active at all.
That's why knowing how to best recover from a stroke is increasingly important to millions of Americans.
A study published in JAMA Network Open shows that doing four hours of physical activity a week doubles patients' chances of recovering well by six months after a stroke. It's effective, the researchers say, because physical activity improves recovery at the cellular level by boosting muscle strength and well-being and reducing the risk of falls, depression, and cardiovascular disease, and at the brain level by increasing brain size and improving functioning and repair processes.
Better yet: Do everything you can to avoid a stroke.
Enjoy 300 minutes of activity a week. Achieve a blood pressure of less than 120/80, and LDL cholesterol or apolipoprotein B of less than 70. Don't smoke (or vape). Limit alcohol. Adopt stress reduction techniques such as meditation and upgrade to a plant-based diet with minimally processed foods.