Exercising in Spare Time Keeps Blood Pressure Healthy

Recent research reveals that exercising during leisure time is connected to a reduced risk for high blood pressure in individuals who do not participate in much exercise. Study investigators arrived at this conclusion following a meta-analysis that examined results from 13 studies evaluating the links between exercise and blood pressure.

It was discovered that individuals who participated in over 4 hours of exercise per week during their leisure time, as opposed to work time, had a 19% reduced risk of high blood pressure, when compared with those who did not engage in much exercise at all.

Reporting their research in the American Heart Association journal Hypertension, the researchers also discovered no solid connection between physical exertion at work and a reduction in high blood pressure risk.

The American Heart Association defines high blood pressure as having readings at or above 140 mm of mercury for the top number or 90 or more for the bottom number. This definition puts around 78 million US adults in the high blood pressure category. High blood pressure is a condition that typically comes with no symptoms and remains undetected and untreated in many individuals.

The research team collected data covering nearly 137,000 individuals across the US, Europe and East Asia who had healthy blood pressure when they enrolled in their particular study. During the course of a follow-up period ranging from 2 to 45 years, over 15,600 of the participants developed high blood pressure.

The researchers discovered exercising for over 4 hours per week in leisure time was linked to a 19% reduced risk for developing high blood pressure, when compared with exercising for less than 1 hour each week.

The researchers also found a “dose-response” connection between recreational physical activity and blood pressure: the more people engaged in exercised during their free time, the less likely they were to develop high blood pressure.

The study team discovered that even people who only engaged in between 1 and 3 hours per week of leisure-time physical activity had an 11% reduced risk of high blood pressure. However, they discovered “no significant link” between work-related physical activity and lower high blood pressure risk.


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