, Volume 30, Issue 3, pp 193-206
Date: 23 Sep 2012

The Role of Exercise Training in the Treatment of Hypertension

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Hypertension is a very prevalent cardiovascular (CV) disease risk factor in developed countries. All current treatment guidelines emphasise the role of nonpharmacological interventions, including physical activity, in the treatment of hypertension. Since our most recent review of the effects of exercise training on patients with hypertension, 15 studies have been published in the English literature. These results continue to indicate that exercise training decreases blood pressure (BP) in approximately 75% of individuals with hypertension, with systolic and diastolic BP reductions averaging approximately 11 and 8mm Hg, respectively. Women may reduce BP more with exercise training than men, and middle-aged people with hypertension may obtain greater benefits than young or older people. Low to moderate intensity training appears to be as, if not more, beneficial as higher intensity training for reducing BP in individuals with hypertension. BP reductions are rapidly evident although, at least for systolic BP, there is a tendency for greater reductions with more prolonged training. However, sustained BP reductions are evident during the 24 hours following a single bout of exercise in patients with hypertension.