EXERCISE AND BLOOD PRESSURE: APPLYING FINDINGS FROM THE LABORATORY TO THE COMMUNITY SETTING

Authors

  • Kay L Cox

    1. School of Medicine and Pharmacology University of Western Australia, Western Australian Institute for Medical Research, Perth, Western Australia, Australia
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  • Presented at a symposium in honour of Lawrie Beilin held in conjunction with the High Blood Pressure Research Council of Australia Annual Scientific Meeting, Melbourne, 6–7 December 2005. The papers in these proceedings have been peer reviewed.

Dr Kay L Cox, University of Western Australia, School of Medicine and Pharmacology (Royal Perth Hospital Unit), GPO Box X2213, Perth, WA 6001, Australia. Email: kaycox@cyllene.uwa.edu.au

SUMMARY

  • 1During the 1980s, there was growing epidemiological evidence that aerobic training lowered blood pressure (BP). Early intervention studies had not always supported this conclusion. Such studies were limited by methodological shortcomings. Few studies had used normotensive individuals or women alone.
  • 2Exercise training is an attractive lifestyle strategy in the prevention of hypertension. In our studies in men, vigorous intensity cycling did not lower resting BP.
  • 3Vigorous exercise reduces day time ambulatory BP and, in combination with calorie restriction, had a synergist effect to reduce night-time and 24 h BP.
  • 4Exercise is a positive and effective adjunct to other lifestyle measures in the prevention of hypertension. Adherence to either supervised or unsupervised moderate-intensity exercise is sufficient to reduce BP in the short and long term.
  • 5Further studies need to be performed to evaluate the clinical significance and mechanisms for the increase in resting BP observed in older women.
  • 6Older individuals with hypertension should be monitored when taking up a swimming programme.
  • 7Exercise induced changes in BP seen in the laboratory are also observed in the community setting.

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