HDCN Article Review/Hyperlink

Brownley KA, West SG, Hinderliter AL, Light KC

Acute aerobic exercise reduces ambulatory blood pressure in borderline hypertensive men

Am J Hypert (Mar) 9:200-206 1996

A small body of data generated over the past 10 years has suggested that regular aerobic exercise has beneficial effects on blood pressure and some improvement on cardiac morbidity and mortality. This NIH funded project was a 24 hour ambulatory blood pressure study of 11 hypertensive and 20 normotensive men and women immediately following either 20 minutes of stationary bicycling or a similar duration of rest as a control. Participants repeated measurements within 72 hours by crossing over to the exercise or rest group. Hypertensive patients demonstrated a fall in MAP of 2-4 mmHg over a 5 hour period immediately following exercise but this effect was rapidly diminished. No MAP difference was noted in the normotensive group following exercise vs. rest. Psychological testing did not reveal a major exercise effect, and catecholamine levels not significantly different between the groups.

Comment: The authors conclude aerobic exercise "prior to the stresses of daily living" offers a cardioprotective reduction in blood pressure based upon this single 20 minute episode of exercise. This suggestion, however, exceeds the actual data presented in that overall clinical benefit is demonstrated with the observed transient blood pressure fall. We need to see similar and persistent effects over prolonged time periods with cardiovascular clinical endpoints studied longitudinally to establish a meaningful benefit. (Sri Narsipur, MD, SUNY-HSC at Syracuse, NY)