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Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2004 Jan;36(1):4-8.

Regular exercise as an effective approach in antihypertensive therapy.

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Humboldt-University, Berlin, Germany.



Exercise has been well documented to exert a beneficial effect on cardiovascular health. The effective control of arterial pressure (BP) is essential from the standpoint of cardiovascular prevention. So far, no study has determined the long-term effect of regular training as a monotherapy on both BP at rest and during exercise.


Therefore, 10 subjects with hypertension (aged 43 +/- 3 yr) were studied in order to define BP response to long-term aerobic training. BP measurements were obtained at rest and during ergometry (50-100 W). Patients were instructed to exercise weekly (2 x 60 min aerobic exercise).


BP during exercise (100 W) did fall already after 6 months of regular training from 184 +/- 10/107 +/- 6 to 170 +/- 10/100 +/- 7, and this was associated with a 14% decrease in the rate-pressure product (at 100 W). After 18 months of training, there were further reductions in BP, at rest from 139 +/- 9/96 +/- 6 to 133 +/- 14/91 +/- 7 (P < 0.05) and during ergometry (100 W) from 184 +/- 10/107 +/- 6 to 172 +/- 8/96 +/- 6 mm Hg (P < 0.001). During a 3-yr follow-up, BP continued to decrease significantly to 130 +/- 13/87 +/- 7 mm Hg at rest and 167 +/- 9/92 +/- 6 mm Hg during exercise. No significant changes in body weight were documented during the training period.


The data demonstrate that long-term aerobic exercise is associated with a decrease in BP at rest and during exercise, which is comparable to that of drug therapies. This antihypertensive effect of regular training can be maintained as long as 3 yr.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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