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  • Cameron Oglesby

Want to prevent strokes? Try doing some housework.

Updated: Jun 28, 2022

It’s common medical knowledge that sitting around all day can be hazardous to your health. Too much sitting can increase the risks of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, even depression.

That’s why doctors – to say nothing of smartphones and smartwatches – urge Americans to take those 10,000 steps a day or spend 2½ hours a week sweating through moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise. Unfortunately, only 23% of American adults do, according to CDC data.

Throughout any given day, most Americans stay seated for about 12 hours.

That’s about as much sitting time every day as you’d spend in the driver’s seat from Richmond to Pinckneyville, Illinois. Or in an airplane seat from Richmond to Frankfurt, Germany.

A new San Diego State University study, published in JAMA Network Open, found that people who were sedentary for 13 or more hours a day had a 44% higher risk of having a stroke.

But researchers also had some good news to report: You don’t have to become a gym rat to lower your stroke risk. Lighter-intensity physical activity every day can also do the trick.

The study measured how much time participants spent sitting around and how much time (and how hard) they exercised.

Unlike previous studies, which relied on self-reported data, the participants –7,600 adults age 45+ – wore sensitive hip-mounted accelerometers, which measured what they were doing far more accurately.

Comparing the data to participants’ incidence of strokes over seven years, researchers found that as little as ten minutes of light to moderate physical activity a few times a day could effectively reduce the likelihood of having a stroke.

This light-intensity physical activity “can include vacuuming, sweeping the floor, washing the car, leisure strolling, stretching or playing catch,” said Steven Hooker, dean of SDSU’s College of Health and Human Services and the study’s lead researcher.

No two people are identical in their likes, dislikes, and preferences. So if intense aerobic workouts aren’t your cup of tea, don’t worry. You can still protect your health by doing things you like to do, when you like doing them. And that includes everyday household chores you’d do anyhow.

The same principle applies to senior care in general. It’s never a one-size-fits-all process, because there’s no such thing as one-size-fits-all people. That’s why, before we recommend anything, we conduct a thorough three-part assessment of a client’s physical, emotional, cognitive, and psychosocial care needs. It’s the first step in designing a holistic senior care management plan that keeps you happy, healthy and independent with no pigeonholing or stereotyping whatever. To find out what a difference that can make, please contact us.

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