Exercising to Prevent a Stroke
Exercise helps lower high blood pressure, which is an important risk factor for stroke. Exercise can help you control other things that put you at risk, such as obesity, high cholesterol and diabetes.
Exercise to lower your risk of stroke
It is important to exercise regularly. Do activities that raise your heart rate. Try to do at least 2½ hours a week of moderate exercise. One way to do this is to be active 30 minutes a day, at least 5 days a week. Or try to do vigorous activity at least 1¼ hours a week. Start slowly and gradually build up your exercise program.
Moderate activity is safe for most people, but it's always a good idea to talk with your doctor before you start an exercise program. You can use your target heart rate to figure out how hard to exercise. Use this Interactive Tool: What Is Your Target Heart Rate?
Low-intensity exercise, if done daily, also can have some long-term health benefits and lower the risk for heart problems that may lead to stroke. Low-intensity exercises have a lower risk of injury and are recommended for people with other health problems. Some low-intensity activities are:
- Gardening and other yard work.
For more information about making a personal fitness plan, see the topic Fitness: Getting and Staying Active.
Exercise to prevent another stroke
If you have already had a stroke, ask your doctor what type and level of activity is safe for you. Your doctor may recommend ½ to 1½ hours a week of moderate exercise. One way to do this is to be active 30 minutes a day, 1 to 3 days a week.
If you are in a stroke rehab program, your rehab team can make an exercise program that is right for you.
Current as of: January 10, 2022
Author: Healthwise Staff
E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine
Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Richard D. Zorowitz MD - Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation