Aerobic Exercise and Blood Pressure

The Exercise Physiologists at Longevity Exercise Physiology Drummoyne,EdgecliffMarrickville,Bella Vista, Randwick, Lindfield and Balmain  look at the effects of aerobic exercise on blood pressure.

Exercise can reduce your blood pressure following exercise!

During my last year of my study’s I participated in a research internship which involved me participating in a study looking at the effects of different aerobic exercise intensities on post exercise hypotension (1). This leads me to the topic of exercise and blood pressure.

There is a very strong relationship between the affects exercise and blood pressure levels, which have benefits on our cardiovascular health. During exercise, our blood pressure rises (systolic) so that our cardiovascular system can push the oxygen rich blood throughout the body to working muscles. Normally our diastolic pressure generally stays the same or reduces slightly.

Blood pressure involves two readings; systolic & diastolic.

  •  Systolic is the first value when recorded in the reading and is pressure in the arteries when the heart beats and oxygenated blood is ejected and sent around the body.
  •  Diastolic is the second value and is the pressure in the arteries when the heart rests between beats and refills with deoxygenated blood.

Despite a rise in blood pressure during exercise due to the physical demands of the working muscles for oxygenated blood, exercise causes a reduction in blood pressure. This is called post exercise hypotension and can last up to 18 hours (2).

Current research shows that aerobic exercise has acute and chronic effects in reducing blood pressure (3) and that these effects have been associated with reductions of 3.3mmHg and 3.5mmHg in systolic and diastolic blood pressure (3). Albeit these numbers may not seem significant, reductions in blood pressure as little as 2mmHg have been associated with 6% decrease in stroke mortality and a 4% decrease in coronary artery disease (4).

In terms of intensity, exercise higher than 65% VO2peak (moderate intensity) is shown to cause reductions in post exercise blood pressure.

At Longevity we know the benefits of aerobic exercise for blood pressure levels and cardiovascular health, so within our sessions we incorporate aerobic exercise along with resistance exercise.

Take home message: Aerobic exercise can reduce your blood pressure following exercise, so if you have elevated blood pressure this may be able to help you take control of it. Some examples of aerobic exercise include cycling, swimming, walking/running and rowing.

Longevity – 1300 964 002

Written By, Guy Beynon

(1) Jones, M.D., Munir, M., Wilkonski, A. et al. Post-exercise hypotension time-course is influenced by exercise intensity: a randomised trial comparing moderate-intensity, high-intensity, and sprint exercise. J Hum Hypertens (2020).

(2) Kenney MJ, Seals DR. Post exercise hypotension. Key features, mechanisms, and clinical significance. Hypertension. 1993;22:653-664

(3) Cardoso CG Jr, Gomides RS, Queiroz AC, et al. Acute and chronic effects of aerobic and resistance exercise on ambulatory blood pressure. Clinics (Sao Paulo). 2010;65(3):317-325. doi:10.1590/S1807-59322010000300013

(4) Chobanian AV, Bakris GL, Black HR, Cushman WC, Green LA, Izzo JL, et al. The Seventh Report of the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure: the JNC 7 report. Jama. 2003;289:2560–72

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