People who walk regularly are less likely to suffer a severe stroke, the results of a new study suggest.
It is already known that regular exercise can reduce a person's risk of stroke overall. However, this latest study has found that walking for just over 30 minutes per day reduces the risk of a severe stroke.
Swedish researchers looked at 925 patients who had suffered their first stroke between 2014 and 2016. Their average age at the time of the stroke was 73 years.
The study found that those who walked for just over 30 minutes per day halved their risk of suffering a severe stroke compared to those who were physically inactive.
"It is remarkable that even light physical activity can have such a clear link to stroke outcomes. It's enough if you walk for a bit more than half an hour every day, or two 15-minute walks a day, to end up in the group with reduced risk of your stroke becoming severe," explained Prof Katharina Stibrant Sunnerhagen, a professor of rehabilitation medicine at the University of Gothenburg.
The researchers noted that both light and moderate physical activity were equally beneficial. Light activity was considered walking for at least four hours per week, while moderate was running, swimming or something similar for two to three hours per week.
Meanwhile, Prof Stibrant Sunnerhagen emphasised the importance between a mild and severe stroke for the patient.
"Individuals having a mild stroke may stay up to a week in a hospital and can then continue their rehabilitation at home, with good potential to return to their normal life and work. After a severe stroke, hospitalisation is much longer and sometimes followed by care at a nursing home," she said.