Exercise as hypertension therapy

P. F. Kokkinos, P. Narayan, V. Papademetriou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

73 Scopus citations


In conclusion, the findings of most recent studies show that moderate-intensity aerobic exercise training can lower BP in patients with stage 1 and 2 essential hypertension. The average reduction in BP is 10.5 mm Hg for systolic and 7.6 mm Hg for diastolic BP. The reductions do not appear to be gender- or age-specific. Significant reductions in BP and LVH regression in patients with stage 3 hypertension have also been reported following aerobic exercise training. Resistance training exercise has not consistently shown to significantly lower BP and is not recommended as the only form of exercise for hypertensive patients. The exercise training program for optimal benefits should consist of 3 to 5 times per week, 30 to 60 minutes per session, at 50% to 80% of PMHR. However, exercise programs should be individualized to meet the patient's needs and abilities. Exercise intensity and duration should be manipulated to promote a safe and effective antihypertensive program. Initially, the exercise intensity should be low and the duration short. Both intensity and duration should progressive increase over a period of weeks until the desired goal is achieved. The rate of progression must be tailored to meet individual patient needs and abilities. The exercise program for overweight or obese hypertensive patients should aim to promote a caloric expenditure of 300 to 500 Kcal per day and 1000 to 2000 Kcal per week. Such an approach, combined with a prudent diet, is likely to reduce body weight. The mechanisms mediating exercise-induced BP reduction are poorly understood. BP reductions appear to be independent of changes in body weight or body composition. There are also no indications of age- or gender-related differences in BP response to exercise. The use of ambulatory blood pressure measuring devices in exercise studies is not extensive. The few studies available indicate a more moderate reduction in BP than that reported by casual observations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)507-516
Number of pages10
JournalCardiology Clinics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 2001
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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