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J Hypertens. 2004 Oct;22(10):1881-8.

Exercise intensity alters postexercise hypotension.

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University of Connecticut, School of Allied Health, Storrs, Connecticut 06269-2101, USA.



Blood pressure (BP) is immediately lowered after a session of dynamic exercise, e.g. postexercise hypotension (PEH). The optimal exercise intensity needed to evoke PEH has not been established. We examined the effect of light (LITE) and moderate (MOD) exercise intensity on PEH.


Subjects were 49 men (mean +/- SEM, 43.8 +/- 1.4 years) with high normal to stage 1 hypertension (145.0 +/- 1.5/85.8 +/- 1.1 mmHg). Men randomly completed three blinded experiments: a control session and two cycle exercise bouts, one at 40% (LITE) and the other at 60% (MOD) of maximal oxygen consumption.


Experiments began with a baseline period and were conducted at the same time of day and separated by >/= 2 days. Subjects wore an ambulatory BP monitor after the experiments. Repeated measure analysis of variance (ANOVA) tested if BP and heart rate differed over time and between experimental conditions. Multivariate regression tested factors related to the BP response.


For 9 h after all experiments, average awake systolic blood pressure (SBP) increased and diastolic blood pressure (DBP) decreased compared with baseline (P < 0.001). Average awake SBP increased up to 6.9 mmHg less (P < 0.001) and DBP decreased 2.6 mmHg more (P < 0.05) after exercise versus control. For 5 h, PEH was greater after MOD; but over the course of 9 h, LITE was as effective as MOD in eliciting PEH. Baseline BP was the primary factor explaining the BP response (beta = -0.434 to -0.718, r = 0.096-0.295).


LITE and MOD evoked PEH throughout the daytime hours. Lower intensity dynamic exercise such as walking, contributes to BP control in men with hypertension.

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