Exercise effective at cutting high blood pressure

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Exercise effective at cutting high blood pressure

A study of data from 400 trials, led by the London School of Economics and Political Science, published online in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, found that among those with high blood pressure, exercise programmes, such as walking, jogging, or gym sessions, were effective at lowering blood pressure. Although the research appears to claim exercise is ‘as good as drugs’, none of the studies, which tracked almost 40,000 patients, directly compared medication against exercise.

The researchers said patients should not immediately ditch their drugs on the basis of the findings.  Lead author Dr Huseyin Naci, Department of Health Policy, London School of Economics and Political Science, said: “We don’t think, on the basis of our study, that patients should stop taking their antihypertensive medications. But we hope that our findings will inform evidence based discussions between clinicians and their patients.”

Katharine Jenner, CEO of Blood Pressure UK agrees; “Exercise is very important for improving overall health as well as lowering blood pressure.  If you have raised blood pressure (more than 120 over 80 and less than 140 over 90 (120/80-140/90)), then regular endurance exercise such as running, walking, cycling or swimming and a general healthy lifestyle, could help prevent your blood pressure from getting high enough to need medication.  However for many people with high blood pressure (140 over 90 (140/90) or higher), taking on an intense exercise regime should be done with caution and on the advice of your GP, and certainly alongside your medication until you review your treatment plan with a healthcare professional .  The first step should be to find out your blood pressure numbers, so you can make an informed decision.”    

You can also find coverage of this story on the Telegraph online:


For more information and advice on how exercise can help to lower your blood pressure, please visit our being active page where you can also download our 'Healthy Lifestyle and blood pressure' booklet.

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