Posted on Oct 16, 2013, 6 a.m.
People who exercise for more than 4 hours per week in their leisure time have a significantly lower risk of developing high blood pressure than those who exercise for less than 1 hour per week.
Recreational exercise can significantly lower blood pressure, say the authors of a recently published study. Wei Ma, M.D., Ph.D., study co-author and associate professor at the Shandong University School of Public Health in Jinan, China, and colleagues examined data from 13 studies involving nearly 137,000 people in order to investigate the effects of physical activity on blood pressure. Results showed that people who exercised for 1-3 hours each week during their leisure time had an 11% lower risk of developing high blood pressure than people who exercised for less than 1-hour each week. While the risk of developing high blood pressure dropped by 19% in those who exercised for 4-hours or more each week. Moderate and high physical activity undertaken at work had no significant effect on lowering blood pressure. The authors say that current guidelines urging people to get more exercise don’t distinguish between activity at work and for leisure, and thus need to be revised. “Hypertension is a risk factor for cardiovascular and kidney disease – thus, it is important to prevent and control hypertension,” said Ma. “To try to lower your risk of high blood pressure, you should exercise more in your leisure time.”
P Huai, H Xun, KH Reilly, Y Wang, W Ma, B Xi. “Recreational physical activity significantly lowers blood pressure physical activity and risk of hypertension: a meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies.” Hypertension. 2013, September 30.