As physical activity level rises, blood pressure may drop

Research we're watching

Published: June, 2017

The more physically active you are, the lower your risk of high blood pressure, a study in the April 2017 issue of Hypertension suggests.

Researchers pooled data from 29 studies involving a total of more than 330,000 people, about 20% of whom had high blood pressure. They examined the association between high blood pressure and leisure-time physical activity (walking, dancing, or gardening, for example) as measured by metabolic equivalents (METs).

METs measure your level of exertion and are based on how much oxygen your body uses during a particular activity. The recommended minimum amount of weekly exercise (150 minutes) is equivalent to about 10 MET hours per week.

Compared with inactive people, those who got 10 MET hours per week of leisure-time physical activity had a 6% lower risk of high blood pressure. People who were twice as active (20 MET hours per week) had a 12% lower risk. Very active people, who logged 60 MET hours per week, were 33% less likely to have high blood pressure.

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