Can exercise cause a stroke?

Posted on September 15, 2013

It was interesting to read that Andrew Marr blames his recent stroke on overworking and an intensive session on the rowing machine.  We all think all types of exercise is beneficial, but can it be the case, that too much exercise, or the wrong type of exercise can in fact be bad for us?

There are simple steps that can be taken to lower the risk of having a stroke; keeping fit, healthy diet, stop smoking and avoiding too much alcohol.

Knowing your limits is also very important and a high-intensity programme of exercise is not for everyone.  You must be aware of your own limitations when embarking on an exercise regime.

Is high- intensity training only for the young? About half an hour of exercise five times a week is effective in reducing your risk of stroke and can be completed a few times a day in 10, 15 or 20 minutes sessions without pushing your body to its limit.

If you have a pre-existing medical condition you should consult your doctor before embarking on a training programme.

The Stroke Association also advises caution and says it is important to find a balance between how hard the exercise is, how long you exercise and how often you exercise.

Nikki Hill, director of communications, said: “Regular exercise is an important factor in stroke prevention and recovery”.

There can be warning signs that a stroke is likely:

Many strokes are preceded by mini ones called transient ischaemic attacks or TIAs.

These may be silent or cause only a few of the symptoms that come with a major stroke – such as arm or face weakness and slurred speech, last a few minutes, making them easy to miss.

A TIA is a sign that not enough blood is getting to your brain and you are at risk of having a stroke in the future.

Approximately 46,000 people in the UK have their first TIA.

There is no way of telling whether you are having a TIA or stroke when the symptoms first start. If you think you or someone you know is having a TIA, it is a medical emergency so call 999.

Regular Health Screening can inform you of any medical conditions you have and enable you to design an individual program of exercise and diet that will decrease your risk of a stroke in the future.