High Blood Pressure Risk Reduced 19 Percent with
Four Hours Weekly Exercise
Study indicates it is leisure-time exercise that
counts; Physical activity at work was not linked to a lower risk of
4, 2013 – High blood pressure we all know is bad, because it can lead to
so many deadly diseases. A new review of 13 studies including more than
135,000 people has proven, however, that you can reduce your chances of
developing hypertension with just over four hours of leisure time
exercise per week.
People who exercised more than four hours per week
in their leisure time had a 19 percent lower risk of high blood pressure
than those who exercised less than one hour per week. 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.
The findings published in the American Heart
Association journal Hypertension indicate that the more
recreational physical activity you get, the more you are protected from
developing high blood pressure.
Researchers pooled results from 13 studies on the
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
Senior Citizens Need Exercise National Institute on Aging
in the U.S. are living longer than ever before. Many seniors
live active and healthy lives. But there's no getting around one
thing: as we age, our bodies and minds change. There are things
you can do to stay healthy and active as you age:
Scientists have found that staying physically active and
exercising regularly can help prevent or delay many diseases and
disabilities. In some cases, exercise is an effective treatment
for many chronic conditions. For example, studies show that
people with arthritis, heart disease, or diabetes benefit from
regular exercise. Exercise also helps people with high blood
pressure, balance problems, or difficulty walking.
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
“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.
Other co-authors are Pengcheng Huai; Huanmiao Xun;
Kathleen Heather Reilly, M.D., Ph.D.; and Yiguan Wang. Author
disclosures are on the manuscript.
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.
Information, tools and tips for managing blood
pressure are at
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