• Heart rate;
  • Systolic blood pressure;
  • Diastolic blood pressure;
  • Respiration;
  • Metabolic activity;
  • Mental arithmetic;
  • Video game;
  • Dynamic exercise


Heart rate, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and respiratory and metabolic activity were recorded prior to and during mental arithmetic and a video game task in 20 young men with mildly elevated casual systolic blood pressures. Twenty-five unambiguously normotensive young men were tested under the same protocol. For pretask baseline physiological activity, group differences emerged for all cardiovascular and metabolic variables; thus the elevated blood pressure group displayed not only higher resting cardiovascular levels than normotensive subjects, but higher levels of metabolic activity too. With regard to change in physiological activity from rest to task, the group with mildly elevated blood pressure showed reliably larger increases in heart rate to the mental arithmetic task than the normotensive subjects. These effects, however, were not paralleled by group differences in metabolic activity increase. Physiological measures were also taken prior to and during graded dynamic exercise. The subsequent calculation of individual heart rate-oxygen consumption exercise regression lines allowed the comparison of actual and predicted heart rates during psychological challenge. The subjects with mildly elevated blood pressure displayed significantly greater discrepancies between actual and predicted heart rate values than normotensives during the psychological tasks in general and menta1 arithmetic in particular. Group differences in physiological activity during exercise largely reflected the pattern seen at rest. A possible exception here was systolic blood pressure. Not only were systolic blood pressure levels higher throughout the exercise phase for mildly elevated blood pressure subjects, but this group evidenced more of an increase from rest to exercise than the normotensives.