Wednesday 27 Aug 2014

Information and opinions presented here do not always represent the views of the American Heart Association.

Exercise can lower high blood pressure risk

Published: 3:27 pm CDT, September 30, 2013

Exercising more than four hours per week could drop your risk of having high blood pressure by nearly 20 percent, according to new research in the American Heart Association journal Hypertension. Meanwhile, people who had one to three hours per week of leisure exercise had an 11 percent lower risk than those with under an hour of activity.

Researchers pooled results from 13 studies on the effects of physical activity on blood pressure. The studies involved 136,846 people in the United States, Europe or East Asia who initially had healthy blood pressure. More than 15,600 later developed high blood pressure during follow-up periods ranging from two to 45 years.

The findings suggest that the more recreational physical activity you get, the more you are protected from developing high blood pressure.

Almost 78 million U.S. adults have high blood pressure, defined by the American Heart Association as blood pressure readings at or above 140 millimeters of mercury for the upper number or 90 or higher for the bottom number. The condition typically has no symptoms, so it goes undetected or untreated in many people.

“Hypertension is a risk factor for cardiovascular and kidney disease — thus, it is important to prevent and control hypertension,” said Wei Ma, M.D., Ph.D., study co-author and associate professor at the Shandong University School of Public Health in Jinan, China. “To try to lower your risk of high blood pressure, you should exercise more in your leisure time.”

Researchers didn’t find a solid link between physical exertion at work and risk of high blood pressure. Health guidelines urging people to get more exercise don’t distinguish between activity at work and for leisure, said Bo Xi, M.D., Ph.D., lecturer at the Shandong University School of Public Health in Jinan, China, and a co-author with Ma. But, “given the new findings, perhaps they should.”

Physical activity on the job, such as farm or industrial work, can involve exertion like heavy lifting, prolonged standing and repetitive tasks.

Recreational exercise may affect several factors tied to high blood pressure — helping people keep off extra pounds, improving poor insulin sensitivity or reducing the blood vessels’ resistance to blood flow, Ma said.

Although the new research linked recreational exercise and lower blood pressure, it didn’t show that the exercise prevents the condition. People who exercise for fun may just have healthier lifestyles, Xi said.

The Independent Innovation Foundation of Shandong University, Research Fund for the Doctoral Program of Higher Education of China and Foundation for Outstanding Young Scientists in Shandong Province funded the study.

 For more information:

  • http://www.jeetchowhan.com/ Jeet Chowhan

    Walking
    is a simple type of exercise that helps lower high blood pressure. In the
    morning or in the afternoon, individuals can walk around their neighborhoods
    or in the local park. Another way to add walking to a daily routine is by
    parking farther away from buildings and taking the stairs.Swimming is a
    gentle form of aerobic activity and is good for individuals with joint and
    knee pains.