Links between exercise and lowering blood pressure continue to grow as new research comes to light.
According to The Global Burden of Disease 2015, high blood pressure is the second biggest risk factor for diseases after a poor diet. Not only this, but high blood pressure is the biggest risk factor of cardiovascular-related disease.
Due to the huge impact that high blood pressure can have on health, it is important that we try to find ways that we can better manage the problem. A recent study has shown that carrying out exercise in the morning lowers blood pressure for the rest of the day among older men and women who are overweight or obese.
With previous research showing that morning exercise can lower blood pressure, researchers at the American Heart Association wanted to look into whether this benefit was eliminated by long periods of rest throughout the day.
Michael Wheeler B.Sc. /PhD, Lead Author of the study said that “Traditionally, the health effects of exercise and sedentary behaviour have been studied separately. We conducted this study because we wanted to know whether there is a combined effect of these behaviours on blood pressure.”
To carry out the study, the researchers looked at 67 participants between the ages of 55-80 who were classed as overweight or obese and had high blood pressure. Each participant was set a length of morning exercise and periods of short walking and inactivity; allowing the researchers to get an insight into how long the effects of morning exercise lasted after being inactive later in the day.
After the study, researchers found that average blood pressure was reduced in both men and women who participated in morning exercise. They also found that for women there was a further benefit, as combining morning exercise with taking breaks by sitting down throughout the day helped to further lower their systolic blood pressure. Although this is positive for women, the same effects were not found for men.
When experts examined both Systolic and Diastolic blood pressure, Michael Wheeler said that the results for women are very positive, as, over the age of 50, systolic blood pressure is more accurate than diastolic blood pressure when predicting cardiovascular disease.
Wheeler and his team say that they do not know why the results are not the same for men and women, but they say it could be down to a few factors such as adrenaline responses and the fact that the women in the study were post-menopausal, with menopause being a time when women are at increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
Overall, the research that has been carried out shows positive signs for fighting high blood pressure, as it shows that by making minimal changes, such as swapping an after work workout to before work can play a monumental part in fighting high blood pressure.
This holds huge potential for Personal Trainers qualified in Older Adult, Exercise Referral or Obesity & Diabetes, as they can capitalise on this research to maximise their time and increase income by offering morning training to older clients or medically referred clients’.