Study shows morning exercise helps control blood pressure

Study shows morning exercise helps control blood pressure

A 30 minute morning walk may be your ticket to better blood pressure.  This news is according to a recent study from Australia and published in the journal Hypertension which found a half-hour of morning exercise can help control blood pressure in overweight and obese people for the rest of the day.

 Exhausted athlete taking a break outdoors in the city

Details of the study

The research for this study included 67 people, 35 women and 32 men between the ages of 55 and 80, who followed three different daily plans, in random order, with at least six days between each plan. The first plan consisted of uninterrupted sitting for 8 hours; the second plan consisted of 1 hour of sitting before 30 minutes of walking on a treadmill at moderate intensity, followed by 6.5 hours of sitting. The third plan was 1 hour of sitting before 30 minutes of treadmill walking, followed by 6.5 hours of sitting, but which was interrupted every 30 minutes with 3 minutes of walking at a light intensity.

This study was done in a laboratory to help standardize the results and both the men and women ate the same meals the evening before the study and during the day.

Results of the study

Findings from conducting this research demonstrated that the average systolic (top number) and diastolic (lower number) blood pressure was reduced among both men and women who took part in morning exercise, compared to when they did not exercise.

Systolic blood pressure, which measure pressure in blood vessels when the heart takes a beat and is a stronger predictor of heart problems such as heart attacks, showed the greatest improvement among women who participated in morning exercise with frequent breaks from sitting throughout the day.  Diastolic pressure, which measures the pressure in blood vessels when the heart is at rest between beats, did not show as a significant improvement.

Men did not get an additional blood pressure benefits from taking frequent breaks from sitting.  It is not understood or completely clear the reason for the gender difference but it could be due to a combination of factors.  All of the women in the study were postmenopausal, a time when women are at increased risk for heart disease.

It has been shown from previous studies that individuals who take frequent breaks from sitting throughout the day have a better beneficial effect on blood pressure among people with a higher risk of heart disease.

An interesting finding from the study was that the magnitude of reduction in average systolic blood pressure following exercise and breaks in sitting is similar to what might be expected from a person using anti-hypertensive medication in this particular population that can help reduce the risk of death from heart disease and stroke.

This study correlates and further supports a huge body of evidence showing that regular physical activity can help lower blood pressure and the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Taking 30 minutes a day, preferably in the morning, to exercise sets the tone for the rest of the day of being more active.