Common sense tells us that exercise is good for us.

Scientific research tells us that “exercise, of appropriate intensity and duration, could help maintain normotension if post-exercise hypotension persists over subsequent everyday activities.

In English:

  • Exercise lowers your blood pressure – hypotension
  • Our lifestyles make us prone to high blood pressure – primary hypertension
  • The B.P. lowering effect of regular exercise balances out the B.P. raising effect of our lifestyles to give us a healthy blood pressure – normotension

So, What Now?

In this study, researchers looked at how exercise intensity affected our “at rest” blood pressure.

During the study, the researchers:

  • Monitored the B.P. and heart rate of 6 normotensive males for 24 hours after a workout.
  • The 6 guinea-pigs performed 4 different workouts over the course of the entire study.
  • The workouts differed only in their intensity.
  • Workout #1 was the control workout: They did nothing. No workout
  • Workout #2 consisted of 30 minutes of cycling at 70% of their V˙O2peak
  • Workout #3 consisted of 30 minutes of cycling at 40% of their V˙O2peak
  • Workout #4 consisted of cycling at 40% of their V˙O2peak until they had matched the work output achieved in Workout #2.

V˙O2peak is the highest amount or volume(V) of oxygen(O2) you can consume while exercising at your maximum capacity.

The Results

While the participants slept, their resting blood pressure (B.P.) was monitored

  • Workout # 2 produced the greatest reduction in resting B.P.
  • Workout #1 had little to no effect on the participants’ B.P.
  • Workout #3 had the second lowest effect on lowering B.P.
  • And even though Workout #4 produced the same amount of work as Workout #2, even it did not have as strong an effect on the participants’ blood pressure (90 % CI for difference = − 22.1 to − 0.1).

Conclusion

  • Daytime exercise can elicit a physiologically meaningful lower BP during sleep, and
  • Exercise intensity is the most important factor in this phenomenon.

So there you go folks, increase your exercise intensity and lower your blood pressure.

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