Men can ward off the onset of age-related high blood pressure for nearly a decade by developing strong heart fitness through aerobic exercise, according to study from researchers at the University of South Carolina Arnold School of Public Health.
The study’s results, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, found that men with higher fitness levels experience a delay in the development of hypertension when compared to those with lower fitness levels.
Exercise is well-established as a method to prevent heart disease, and it is a component of an overall healthy life, said Dr. Junxiu Liu of the Arnold School’s department of epidemiology and biostatistics and the study’s lead author.
The study examined whether a man’s improved fitness level delays the age ranges for naturally-occurring systolic blood pressure (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP) hypertension in males.
The researchers found that the average SBP among low-fit males begins to reach 120 mmHg level (prehypertension) about the age of 46 while his DBP begins to reach 80 mmHg level (prehypertension) at the age of 42. However, those at a high fitness level are likely to reach the age at which normal SBP becomes abnormal about a decade later, approximately at age 54, while the DBP does not reach prehypertension level until advanced ages for men at a high fitness level.
This implies that improving fitness levels may reduce the duration of elevated blood pressure, the researchers said.
“Our findings reinforce the effect of a man’s cardiovascular health on his natural, age-appropriate increase in his blood pressure,” said Dr. Liu.
Dr. Xuemei Sui of the Arnold School’s department of exercise said that men who want to improve their fitness “should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity of physical activity such as brisk walking/jogging/running weekly.”
This level of activity or exercise is the current recommendation from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Visit http://www.health.gov/paguidelines/ to know more.