Want to Lower Your Blood Pressure? Exercise.
Do you want to lower your blood pressure? Start a plan for regular aerobic exercise, a new study advises post-menopausal women.
The research team at the University of Colorado at Boulder concluded their study “establish[es] the efficacy of aerobic exercise in the most prevalent population of women with elevated blood pressure.”
The study involved 10 postmenopausal women ages 50 to 64, all with either hypertensive or “high normal” blood pressure ranges. For the first two weeks of the 12-week program, each woman exercised for 30 minutes 3 to 4 times per week. As the program continued, the exercise increased in frequency (to 4-5 times per week), duration (40-45 minutes per session) and intensity. The programs were not especially ambitious and the researchers emphasize “the type, volume and intensity of [the] exercise is such that it could be performed by almost all sedentary middle-aged and older women with elevated blood pressure.”
For their efforts, the women’s systolic blood pressure (the first number) fell, on average, 10-12 points from pre-exercise levels and diastolic (the second number) fell 5-7 mm Hg, according to the researchers. This progress has a big impact on lowering the women’s risk for death as a result of strokes and coronary heart disease as well, the report says.
SOURCE: American Journal of Cardiology (1997; 80: 49-55) as reported by Reuters News Service, July 8, 1997.