Exercise Will Lower Your Blood Pressure
April 17, 2002
Researchers who reviewed more than 50 studies on the effects of
exercise on blood pressure have a message for all couch-potatoes
out there: Get moving.
Whether you are overweight or trim, have hypertension or normal
blood pressure, engaging in regular exercise such as walking, cycling,
jogging or swimming can help lower your blood pressure and your
subsequent risk of heart attack and stroke.
The review of 54 clinical trials involving 2,419 previously sedentary
adults concluded that regular exercise decreased systolic blood
pressure -- the upper number in a blood-pressure reading -- by an
average of 4 mm of mercury (mm Hg) and diastolic blood pressure,
the bottom number, by an average of 2.6 mm Hg.
Even a small reduction in the overall population's average blood
pressure level should dramatically reduce the morbidity and mortality
of heart disease and stroke in the US general population.
The new findings offer more evidence that exercise is important
both for treating high blood pressure and preventing the condition
from developing in healthy people, he said.
In addition to the cardiovascular risks, high blood pressure also
can damage the kidneys, eyes and brain. Blood pressure is considered
elevated if the reading is 140/90 or higher.
Statistics show that about 25% of US adults
have high blood pressure and up to 30% are sedentary. While
the study did not identify an ideal amount of exercise for lowering
blood pressure, results showed that a variety of types of aerobic
exercise at all frequencies were beneficial to people who were previously
sedentary. In other words, some activity was better than none.
US health officials advise that people aim to get at least 30 minutes
of moderate exercise on 5 or more days a week.
of Internal Medicine April 2, 2002;136:493-503