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Stroke Res Treat. 2012;2012:614925. doi: 10.1155/2012/614925. Epub 2011 Sep 7.

Previous leisure-time physical activity dose dependently decreases ischemic stroke severity.

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Department of Medical Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine, University Lille-North of France, 1 Place Verdun, 59045 Lille, France.


In the present subanalysis of a cross-sectional study showing the favorable effect of prior transient ischemia, leisure-time physical activity, and lipid-lowering drug therapy on stroke severity, we aimed to evaluate whether previous physical activity was dose dependently associated to minor stroke (NIHSS 0-3) and to identify possible underlying factors. Among 362 consecutive patients, less severe stroke was related to weekly exercise duration prior to stroke (no exercise: 36.1%; <2 hours: 49.3%; 2-5 hours: 58.8%; >5 hours: 64.0%; P = 0.003). Only weak and moderate exercise practices were protective (weak: 50.0%; moderate: 79.3%; heavy: 22.2%; P < 0.0001). Such a beneficial effect was observed independently of age and was associated with a trend to a lower frequency of arterial hypertension, alcohol abuse, and a better metabolic profile. Besides other therapeutic approaches, physical activity may be a simple way to decrease cerebral ischemia severity.

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