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Exercise can help prevent high blood pressure

Published on 02 October 2013 12:30 PM

Taking part in regular exercise can reduce the risk of developing high blood pressure, researchers have said.

Experts in China looked at the results of 13 studies involving more than 136,000 patients to see if there was a case that physical activity has an impact on blood pressure.


Writing in the American Heart Association journal Hypertension, they reported that more than 15,600 of these patients - from the US, Europe or east Asia - were discovered to have developed high blood pressure at follow-up checks ranging from between two and 45 years later.

The researchers based at Shandong University School of Public Health in Jinan reported that people involved in excess of four hours of exercise each week had a 19% lower risk of high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, than those who did less than an hour of physical activity.

Among those who only exercised for between one and three hours every week, there was an 11% lower chance of them developing high blood pressure than those who took part in less than 60 minutes exercise.

Exercise in leisure time

Lead author Dr Wei Ma said: 'Hypertension is a risk factor for cardiovascular and kidney disease - thus, it is important to prevent and control hypertension. To try to lower your risk of high blood pressure, you should exercise more in your leisure time.'

The team in Jinan also looked at a possible link between physical effort at work and the likelihood of suffering high blood pressure but did not find a connection, which suggests that the type of exercise done in leisure is more useful.

They said that typical work-related tasks such as heavy lifting, standing for long periods of time and repetitive jobs may not have a benefit unlike leisure time activities which can help people stay slim or improve the performance of blood vessels.

The study was funded by the Independent Innovation Foundation of Shandong University, Research Fund for the Doctoral Program of Higher Education of China and the Foundation for Outstanding Young Scientists in Shandong Province.

Copyright Press Association 2013

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Last updated: Dec 05 2018

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