Influence of age and gender on exercise training-induced blood pressure reduction in systemic hypertension


      Regular exercise has been reported to lower blood pressure in young and older adults with essential hypertension. However, it is not known how age and gender influence the hypotensive effects of exercise. A total of 109 sedentary subjects with stage 1 or 2 essential hypertension performed exercise training at mild intensity for 8 weeks with a combination of various exercises at 22 fitness clubs. Blood pressure (BP) was reduced significantly during the program in all of the 4 exercise subgroups classified by age and gender (−15/−11 mm Hg in men aged 30 to 49 years, −10/−5 mm Hg in men aged 50 to 69 years, −16/−14 mm Hg in women aged 30 to 49 years, and −10/−6 mm Hg in women aged 50 to 69 years). There was a significant (p <0.01) age × time interaction for both systolic and diastolic BP. However, no significant gender × time interaction was observed over the same time period. After adjustment for baseline BP, exercise duration, and changes in body mass and salt intake, a significant (p <0.01) age effect difference also was observed with reduction in BP at weeks 4 and 8. There were no significant changes in any of these variables in the 42 other hypertensive control subjects. Thus, (1) a clinically significant reduction in BP was produced with the combination of various exercises performed at fitness clubs, (2) older hypertensive subjects experienced smaller reductions in BP than younger counterparts at weeks 4 and 8, and (3) gender did not influence the efficacy of physical activity for lowering elevated BP.
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