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Approximately 85.6 million Americans are living with some form of cardiovascular disease or the after-effects of stroke.

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), studies show that stroke survivors who take 6,000 or more steps a day are more likely to remain stroke and vascular-event free than those who walk less than 6,000 steps daily. Additionally, researchers found that stroke survivors who had significantly lower daily step counts were more likely to experience additional vascular events such as stroke, heart attack and blocked arteries.

By boosting activity level following a stroke, survivors may decrease their risk of future strokes and heart attacks. For a stroke survivor, this news is especially important, as the chances of having another stroke increase after your first episode.

The key is physical activity. Physical activity is not just a safe practice; it’s part of the recovery plan. Whether you’re hitting the recommended 6,000 steps per day, or accomplishing a higher goal, it’s important to engage yourself as best you can.

Remember: Start gently, build slowly and always consult with your physician before you begin an exercise plan.

Joseph M. Szczytowski, D.O., medical director of Cardiac Rehab at St. David’s Round Rock Medical Center

Sources: American Stroke Association (ASA), American Heart Association (AHA)

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