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STUDY: 30 minutes of exercise a day keeps blood pressure at bay

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
October 1st, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

A daily dose of 30 minutes of exercise could cut the risk of high blood pressure by almost a fifth, researchers say. In fact, just doing just four hours a week of physical activity during could make the difference between a healthy blood pressure and having to take drugs for the rest of your life.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The American Heart Association, citing new findings suggest the more recreational physical activity you get, the more you are protected from getting high blood pressure. Researchers looked at results from 13 studies on the effects of physical activity on blood pressure in a report in the journal "Hypertension."

Test subjects included 136,846 people in the United States, Europe or East Asia who initially had healthy blood pressure. More than 15,600 later developed high blood pressure during follow-up periods ranging from two to 45 years.

People who exercised more than four hours per week had a 19 percent lower risk of high blood pressure than those who exercised less than one hour per week. Statistics also proved that people who had one to three hours per week of leisure exercise had an 11 percent lower risk than those with under an hour of activity.

High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease, stroke, and kidney failure. A high blood pressure reading is one that exceeds 140/90 millimeters of mercury. The first figure, the systolic pressure, corresponds to the "surge" that occurs with each heart beat. Usually present without symptoms, it goes undetected or untreated in many people.

The lifetime risk of developing high blood pressure in developed nations is now 90 percent.

People with hypertension, the medical term for high blood pressure are routinely advised to change their lifestyle and eat less salt, lose weight, drink less alcohol, eat more fruit and vegetables and exercise more.

The latest research shows the benefits in preventing blood pressure from rising are much bigger than expected.

Dr Wei Ma, study co-author and associate professor at the Shandong University School of Public Health in Jinan, China, said "Hypertension is a risk factor for cardiovascular and kidney disease -- thus, it is important to prevent and control hypertension.

"To try to lower your risk of high blood pressure, you should exercise more in your leisure time."

The researchers added that exercise may affect several factors tied to high blood pressure, such as helping people keep off extra pounds, improving poor insulin sensitivity or reducing the blood vessels' resistance to blood flow.

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