Taking steps to avoid high blood pressure

Research we're watching

Published: January, 2021

Walking even at a "casual" pace — covering a mile in 30 minutes — five days a week may lower the odds of high blood pressure in postmenopausal women, a new study finds.

Researchers relied on data from more than 83,000 women ages 50 to 79 who did not have high blood pressure. When they joined the study, they filled out questionnaires about their walking speed and duration. This was followed by yearly questionnaires that included checking for a diagnosis of high blood pressure.

After an average follow-up of 11 years, women who walked at a pace of at least two mph for 2.5 hours per week had a reduced risk of being diagnosed with high blood pressure. Those who walked at faster speeds, even if they didn't walk for as long, also had a lower risk. Like other forms of physical activity, walking triggers many changes that likely contribute to lower blood pressure, including reducing levels of stress hormones and enhancing blood vessel health. The study was published in the November 2020 issue of the journal Hypertension.

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