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Exercising 30 minutes a day reduces the risk of a ruptured brain aneurysm.

Exercise and other forms of physical activity exert profound cardioprotective effects. In fact, people who regularly engage in moderate leisure time physical activity are less likely to develop cardiovascular disease than people who are inactive. Findings from a 2019 study suggest that just 30 minutes of moderate exercise daily reduces the risk of experiencing a ruptured brain aneurysm.

The bleeding associated with a ruptured brain aneurysm impedes the delivery of oxygen to brain tissue, potentially causing a stroke and impairing cognitive and motor function. Experts estimate that as many as 12 percent of people who experience a ruptured brain aneurysm will die immediately; as many as 45 percent will die within 30 days of the event.

The study involved more than 65,000 adults enrolled in the FINRISK, an ongoing study of risk factors for chronic diseases among people living in Finland. The investigators collected information about the participants' physical activity, including activities performed during leisure time, commuting, and working. They also reviewed medical records and autopsy registries to identify those who had experienced a ruptured brain aneurysm.

They found that 543 of the participants experienced a ruptured brain aneurysm during a 42-year period. However, those who engaged in regular physical activity were protected: For every 30-minute increase in weekly leisure-time physical activity, the risk of experiencing a ruptured brain aneurysm decreased by 5 percent. The protective effects of leisure-time activity were observed across all age groups and were particularly strong for smokers. Participants who had an active commute were protected as well, but this protection lessened upon retirement, when they stopped commuting. Interestingly, those who had moderate or high work-related physical activity were 34 to 41 percent more likely to experience a ruptured brain aneurysm.

These findings suggest that just 30 minutes of moderate leisure-time exercise and physical activity daily exert robust cardioprotective effects, reducing the risk of ruptured brain aneurysm. Learn more about the benefits of exercise in our overview article.

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