Sweat equity

By John Pastor • Published: October 28th, 2013
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

In business, when people invest labor and receive rewards, they essentially have contributed sweat equity.

The same idea appears to apply to health.

A team led by doctors from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the University of South Australia investigated the relationship between stroke and physical activity.

Strokes occur when blood vessels that carry oxygen and nutrients to the brain are blocked or broken.

Brain cells begin dying in seconds when the blood supply is interrupted, often causing permanent damage or death.

To study the causes, researchers examined health information collected from more than 27,000 participants through a National Institutes of Health-funded study.

In these volunteers, sweat was often the barometer of good health. All of the study participants were at least 45 years old with no history of stroke.

The volunteers were contacted every six months for nearly six years and asked to report whether they had experienced a stroke, as well as how often they broke a sweat during exercise each week. Reports of actual strokes were verified through medical records.

The researchers discovered that participants who exercised less than once a week were about 20 percent more likely to have a stroke than people who exercised at least four times a week.

Exercise was not the sole indicator of a person’s neurovascular health. Traditional risk factors such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and being overweight played roles.

But frequent exercise to the point of perspiration is the shot in the arm that lowers many of the risk factors.

Strokes are the fourth leading cause of death in the United States.

When it comes to preventing them … to take liberties with the old adage … an ounce of perspiration may be worth a pound of cure.