Exercise & Blood Pressure
Risks Associated With High Blood Pressure
- Those with high blood pressure are at more than 6 times the risk of stroke compared to others with normal blood pressure. Furthermore, for every 10 mmHg increase in systolic pressure above 120 mmHg, risk of CVD goes up 30%.
Ways To Control Blood Pressure
- Some of the best ways to control high BP are through lifestyle changes. These include dietary modification, stress control, and physical activity.
- High BP is related to excess body fat. Obesity is responsible for 50%-70% of all high BP in whites. Research indicates that for every 10% reduction in body weight there tends to be a 7 mmHg drop in systolic BP.
- Individuals who participate in regular aerobic activity programs experience lower resting BP. Exercise also helps to control overweight. In a very large study of men and women it was seen that physically unfit men who had desirable blood pressure were at 2.5 times greater death rates due to all causes when compared to those who were physically fit and had high BP. Women who had desirable blood pressure but were unfit were at 32 times greater risk of all-cause death than women who were fit but had high BP. Clearly, regular aerobic exercise leading to physical fitness helps to protect the body against the damaging effects of high BP.
Additional supporting research can be read by checking the following references:
- Blair, SN., et al. (1989). Physical fitness and all-cause mortality: a prospective study of healthy men and women. JAMA, 262:3295.
- Pi-Sunyer, FX. (1993). Medical hazards of obesity. Ann. Intern. Med, 119:655.
- Stamler, R., et al. (1978). Weight and blood pressure. Findings in hypertension screening of 1 million Americans. JAMA, 240:1607.
- Stefanick, ML. (1993). Exercise and weight control. Exerc, Sport Sci, Rev, 21:363.
- Williams, DP., et al. (1992). Body fatness and risk for elevated blood pressure, total cholesterol, and serum lipoprotein ratios in children and adolescents. Am. J. Public Health, 82:358.