This month is stroke awareness month. We’ve seen the info graphics that tell the signs of stroke, and those are important, but I want to talk about stroke prevention.
Strokes are commonly caused by atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. Typically a stroke is an ischemic stroke, caused by a blood clot in the brain. You think of atherosclerosis and heart disease, and you should think of it with stroke too. Prevention of atherosclerosis is key, but you can also combat this disease with physical activity. Studies show how exercise increases elasticity of the blood vessels, lower blood pressure, and helps lower cholesterol.
Exercise is so important, and it doesn’t have to be vigorous to be effective. Consistently doing a program like Tai Cheng, a program based on the ancient at of Tai chi, helps joint mobility and muscle function. Walking consistently for at least an hour and a half a week increases cognitive function by 20%. When walking, your pace should be brisk enough that you can’t comfortably carry on a conversation. An hour and a half of exercise a week is 30 minutes a day, 3 days a week. More moderate exercise does have an increased benefit. A good program for beginners, or someone getting back into exercise after an extended hiatus, is the 21 Day Fix.
Exercise helps reduce stress, which floods the body with cortisol causing damaging inflammation. Every 5th minute of intense exercise releases endorphins which kill stress and help you feel better, and lower cortisol levels. Increased inflammation increases chances of arterial plaque to dislodge and cause a blood clot, causing either a heart attack or stroke.
An incredible compliment to exercise is Shakeology. This amazing shake is a breakthrough in health drinks. A survey of 3,000 Shakeology drinkers showed that 93% feel healthier after drinking it. My dad has been drinking Shakeology since October 2013 and just had his biometrics done at work, and he showed a 5 point improvement in every category: lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, and lower weight. How cool is that?! He didn’t change his exercise routine, just started drinking Shakeology and decreased his fast food intake.