, Volume 15, Issue 6, pp 659-668
Date: 20 Sep 2013

Physical Activity and the Prevention of Hypertension

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Abstract

As the worldwide prevalence of hypertension continues to increase, the primary prevention of hypertension has become an important global public health initiative. Physical activity is commonly recommended as an important lifestyle modification that may aid in the prevention of hypertension. Recent epidemiologic evidence has demonstrated a consistent, temporal, and dose-dependent relationship between physical activity and the development of hypertension. Experimental evidence from interventional studies has further confirmed a relationship between physical activity and hypertension as the favorable effects of exercise on blood pressure reduction have been well characterized in recent years. Despite the available evidence strongly supporting a role for physical activity in the prevention of hypertension, many unanswered questions regarding the protective benefits of physical activity in high-risk individuals, the factors that may moderate the relationship between physical activity and hypertension, and the optimal prescription for hypertension prevention remain. We review the most recent evidence for the role of physical activity in the prevention of hypertension and discuss recent studies that have sought to address these unanswered questions.