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At Cain Denture Centers, your Portland denture provider, we want all of our patients to enjoy great oral and overall health. For many of our senior patients, stroke ranks as one of the biggest concerns to their health.

Stroke currently ranks as the third leading cause of death in the U.S., resulting in over 140,000 deaths annually, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Each year, nearly 600,000 people will suffer a stroke for the first time, and another 185,000 will suffer a recurrent attack. While a stroke can occur at any age, an individual’s risk doubles every 10 years after the age of 55; leading almost 75 percent of all stroke cases to occur in individuals over 65.

Now a new study has offered hope for some of the senior population to lower their risk of suffering a stroke. According to a study conducted by researchers at the University College London, senior men who take a daily walk may successfully reduce their risk of stroke.

Researchers have found that walking one or two hours a day could lower a man’s risk of stroke by up to one-third, while walking for three hours a day or more could cut his risk by two-thirds. This study adds further evidence to the growing amount of data that suggests staying active during the golden years, especially by walking, can help improve the quality of life in seniors.

The results of this study were published online in the journal Stroke.

Walking for the Brain

As part of the study, researchers at University College collected data on approximately 3,500 healthy men between the ages of 60 to 80 who were already participating in a national British study on heart health. Researchers asked each participant to estimate how far he walked daily.

Researchers then divided the men into five categories: those who walked between zero to three hours a week, four to seven hours a week, eight to 14, 15 to 21, and those who walked over 22 hours every week.

Over the next decade, researchers discovered that participants who walked an average of eight to 14 hours a week successfully reduced their stroke risk by nearly one-third when compared to the group that walked the least. Participants who walked over 22 hours a week had their risk of stroke drop by nearly two-thirds. Together, 42 percent of participants walked for more than eight hours a week, while nine percent walked for over 22 hours a week.

Men who fell into the first group and walked the least suffered strokes at a rate of 80 per 1,000 during the 10-year period the study was conducted. Conversely, men who walked between eight to 14 hours a week had their stroke rates drop to 55 per 1,000, researchers found.

Researchers also discovered that the benefits of walking were maintained regardless of how fast a pace was set.

A Healthier Sunset

While previous studies have found links between walking and a decreased risk of stroke, researchers were quick to point out that any kind of frequent physical activity can help to improve senior health by lowering the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. So regardless of whether a senior stays physical by playing tennis, jogging, working in the garden, or running around the backyard with grandkids, the activity can offer immense health benefits when compared to living a more sedentary lifestyle.

Overall, researchers recommend that daily exercise should become a part of a senior’s healthy lifestyle, which includes eating a balanced diet filled with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, maintaining an active social life, and practicing quality oral hygiene. While these types of lifestyle choice may not turn back the clock, they can act as a modern day fountain of youth when it comes to staying healthier for longer.