Is exercise good for high blood pressure?Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1982; 285 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.285.6344.767 (Published 18 September 1982) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1982;285:767
- R G Wilcox,
- T Bennett,
- A M Brown,
- I A Macdonald
Ten men with uncomplicated essential hypertension (mean standing blood pressure 165/109 mm Hg) and 10 normal controls matched for age and weight were studied for the hypotensive potential of moderate exercise. Tests were conducted on a treadmill set to induce a steady heart rate of 120 beats/min and performed over five 10-minute periods separated by three minutes' rest and finishing with 30 minutes' sitting quietly in a chair.
During exercise the mean systolic pressures were identical in the hypertensive patients and controls (175±SEM 5 mm Hg), the controls therefore sustaining an appreciably greater increase in pressure. During the 30-minute rest period after the tests both the control and hypertensive groups showed a significant and sustained fall in absolute systolic pressures as compared with pre-exercise values (p <0·001), the mean percentage reductions being 22% and 25% respectively.
If a fall in blood pressure after exercise is maintained for four to 10 hours, then a “good walk” twice a day might be reasonable treatment for mild hypertension. Studies are continuing to determine the amount of exercise needed and the duration for which the reduction in blood pressure is maintained.
Log in using your username and password
Log in through your institution
Register for a free trial to thebmj.com to receive unlimited access to all content on thebmj.com for 14 days.
Sign up for a free trial