Physical activity and supervised exercise among hypertensives and normotensives: status and barriers

  • Dulce Esteves
  • Paulo DuarteEmail author
  • Paulo Pinheiro
  • Rui Brás
  • Ricardo Gouveia Rodrigues
  • Ana Gouveia
  • Kelly O’Hara
Original Article



Physical activity (PA) is considered central to hypertension prevention and management. The main purpose of this article is to compare supervised exercise (SE) patterns among hypertensive and normotensive Portuguese adults.


A total of 966 participants aged between 15 and 90 years old (mean 41.9; SD 19.5) were surveyed face-to-face in public places across Portugal. Participants were considered hypertensives (n = 144) if they have systolic and diastolic blood pressure higher than 160 and 90 mmHg or report taking antihypertensive medication. PA was assessed using the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ). Descriptive statistics, Chi-square test for associations and t test for independent samples were used to analyze data.


Hypertensive individuals show a higher prevalence of sedentary lifestyle than normotensive (31% vs 20%). About 40% of hypertensive patients have a high level of physical activity. Several significant differences were found between hypertensives and normotensives regarding the causes for non-participation, information sources and motivation to participate. For infrastructures, only the quality of the equipment (p = 0.032), innovative activities (p = 0.027), and the opportunity to socialize (p = 0.000) are capable of differentiating the two groups.


This study shows the prevalence of sedentary behavior among the hypertensive population. Hypertensives and normotensive behavior reveal different patterns on the barriers, sources of information, and perception regarding the structures. Service providers seem incapable to make hypertensives aware of the risks associated with PA and the benefits associated with SE. More information is needed to make hypertensives aware of the benefits of SE programs.


Hypertension Health Physical activity Supervised exercise Program attendance promotion Promotion Information sources Sports health 



There is no funding associated with this research.

Compliance with ethical standards

Ethics approval (IRB)

The study protocol conformed to the Declaration of Helsinki and was conducted with the Scientific Committee of Ph.D. Sports Science from the University of Beira Interior approval (no number assigned).

Informed consent

All respondents were unambiguously informed about the study’s objectives, that participation was voluntary, and anonymity was assured. Explicit verbal agreement regarding participation was obtained from all participants before answering the questionnaire.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Italia S.r.l., part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Universidade da Beira Interior, Research Center in Sports Sciences, Health Sciences and Human Development (CIDESD)CovilhãPortugal
  2. 2.Research Unit in Business Sciences (NECE)Universidade da Beira InteriorCovilhãPortugal
  3. 3.Instituto de Biofísica e Engenharia Biomédica, Faculdade de CiênciasUniversidade da Beira Interior, Universidade de LisboaCovilhãPortugal

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