Last week, we broke the story about how vigorous exercise can greatly reduce the risk for epilepsy. This week, similar stories covering this finding are plastering the front page of Google News for “Epilepsy”. It is a big deal. Results showed that men who had a high level of fitness were 80% less likely to develop epilepsy compared with men who had low fitness levels, and 35% less likely than those who had medium fitness levels.
As a cyclist myself, it is awesome that the research used Cycling as the test, I even used a shot that I took of a pro mountain biker for the story’s cover photo. It makes me proud that cycling is so beneficial to the mind and body.
The fitness-level assessments for this research were run on bicycles –
“In the study, participants’ fitness levels were ranked on a scale of 1 to 9, based on how well they did on cycling tests. The men rode stationary bicycles with increasing resistance until they couldn’t cycle anymore. The men who had the lowest scores were still healthy enough to have been enlisted in the military, Ben-Menachem noted.
Among men classified as having high fitness, about 2,380 out of about 500,000 developed epilepsy later (0.48 percent). Among men with medium fitness, about 4,000 out of 630,000, or 0.62 percent, developed epilepsy. The number of men with low fitness who developed epilepsy was 502 out of about 46,000 men, or 1.09 percent.” via Fox News – http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/09/06/exercise-may-ward-off-epilepsy/
The research was a long process, following 1.17 million swedish men born between 1950 and 1987 who had completed cardiovascular fitness tests when they enlisted for military service at the age of 18. The participants were followed for up to 40 years, during which 6,796 men were diagnosed with epilepsy.
This research also spurs other questions, like, “Is a low fitness level actually a trigger for Epilepsy onset?” or “does having a low level of fitness actually warrant a medical inquiry to find undetected symptoms?” More research is clearly needed to answer those questions, but one thing is certain, having a medium to high level of fitness puts you in a group of people with a lower chance for developing epilepsy and also, of course, many other cardiovascular, respiratory, neurological degenerations, diseases and disorders.
What is great about this research and findings is that it ties right into one of the most common forms of Fundraisers (or as we like to call them, “Fun-Raisers”) for many afflictions, including Epilepsy. “The Walk”. The Epilepsy Association of Central Florida holds two walks a year, one in each of the two main areas that we cover; a spring walk in landlocked-Central Florida (Orange and Seminole Counties) and fall walk in coastal Brevard County Florida.
Walking and running are great for health and well-being. This is not new information, but to learn that a fitness schedule that includes vigorous walking or running could actually prevent epilepsy is such a great tie in to our Epilepsy “Fun”-Raisers!
If you haven’t registered yet for our Brevard County Epilepsy Walk, you certainly should! This year we are holding it close to Halloween (October 26th) at Wickham Park and we are suggesting that everyone wear their halloween costumes! It will be a ton of fun. Come join us as we raise money for Epilepsy Research, low-cost Epilepsy Treatment and Assessments and for the Epilepsy Education programs of the Epilepsy Association of Central Florida and EpilepsyU.com!