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Hypertension. 2019 Apr;73(4):859-867. doi: 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.118.12373.

Effect of Morning Exercise With or Without Breaks in Prolonged Sitting on Blood Pressure in Older Overweight/Obese Adults.

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From the School of Human Sciences (Exercise and Sport Science), University of Western Australia, Perth (M.J.W., D.W.D., L.H.N., D.J.G.).
Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia (M.J.W., D.W.D., E.C., S.P., G.L., P.C.D., B.A.K.).
Mary MacKillop Institute for Health Research, Australian Catholic University, Melbourne, Victoria (D.W.D., E.C.).
Department of Psychiatry, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia (K.A.E.).
School of Public Health, University of Hong Kong (E.C.).
Iverson Health Innovation Research Institute and School of Health Science, Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia (S.P., G.L.).
Institute of Metabolic Science, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom (P.C.D.).


Both exercise and breaks in prolonged sitting can reduce blood pressure (BP) in older overweight/obese adults. We investigated whether there is an additive hypotensive effect when exercise is combined with subsequent breaks in sitting. Sex differences and changes in plasma catecholamines as a potential candidate mechanism underlying BP responses were also examined. Sedentary older adults (n=67; 67±7 years; 31.2±4.1 kg/m2) completed 3 conditions in random order-sitting (SIT): uninterrupted sitting (8 hours, control); exercise+sitting (EX+SIT): sitting (1 hour), moderate-intensity walking (30 minutes), uninterrupted sitting (6.5 hours); exercise+breaks (EX+BR): sitting (1 hour), moderate-intensity walking (30 minutes), sitting interrupted every 30 minutes with 3 minutes of light-intensity walking (6.5 hours). Serial BP and plasma epinephrine/norepinephrine measurements occurred during 8 hours. The 8-hour average systolic and diastolic BP (mm Hg 95% CI) was lower in EX+SIT -3.4 (-4.5 to -2.3), -0.8 (-1.6 to -0.04), and EX+BR -5.1 (-6.2 to -4.0), -1.1 (-1.8 to -0.3), respectively, relative to SIT (all P <0.05). There was an additional reduction in average systolic BP of -1.7 (-2.8 to -0.6) in EX+BR relative to EX+SIT ( P=0.003). This additional reduction in systolic BP was driven by women -3.2 (-4.7 to -1.7; P<0.001 EX+BR versus EX+SIT). Average epinephrine decreased in EX+SIT and EX+BR in women (-13% to -12%) but increased in men (+12% to +23%), respectively, relative to SIT ( P<0.05). No differences in average norepinephrine were observed. Morning exercise reduces BP during a period of 8 hours in older overweight/obese adults compared with prolonged sitting. Combining exercise with regular breaks in sitting may be of more benefit for lowering BP in women than in men. Clinical Trial Registration- URL: . Unique identifier: ACTRN12614000737639.


blood pressure; exercise; obesity; sedentary behavior; sex characteristics

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