Research suggests that 30 minutes of exercise each morning can be as effective as medications for lowering blood pressure for the rest of the day.
One study found that a short physical activity – in this case, walking on a treadmill at a moderate intensity – had long-term effects and that extra steps of three minutes later in the day could also be beneficial. .
The British Heart Foundation (BHF) praised the study, saying that 30 minutes of exercise each morning was also beneficial for mental health.
The experts looked at data regarding overweight and obese men and women aged 55 to 80 at the start of the study.
The 35 women and 32 men participated in three different daily programs, in random order, with at least six days apart.
The first plan consisted of an uninterrupted eight-hour session, while the second consisted of one hour of sitting before a 30-minute walk on a moderate-intensity treadmill followed by 6.5 hours of sitting.
The final plan consisted of one hour of session in front of 30 minutes of treadmill walking, followed by 6.5 hours of session which was interrupted every 30 minutes with a three minute walk at a luminous intensity.
The study was conducted in a laboratory to normalize the results, and men and women took the same meals in the evening before the study and during the day.
Experts measured blood pressure and heart rate, and had blood tests to assess adrenaline levels during each eight-hour program.
The results, published in the American Heart Association's Hypertension Journal, found that blood pressure, particularly systolic blood pressure, was lower among men and women participating in exercise plans, compared to men and women participating in exercise plans. did not exercise.
Women in particular benefited from additional benefits if they added during short three-minute walks throughout the day.
Systolic blood pressure – which measures the pressure in the blood vessels when the heart beats – is a more important predictor of heart problems such as heart attacks than diastolic blood pressure, which measures the pressure in the blood vessels when the heart is resting between beats.
Michael Wheeler, lead author of the University of Western Australia study in Perth, said, "For both men and women, the magnitude of the average systolic blood pressure reduction after physical exercise and breaks in a sitting position was what you would expect from an antihypertensive. drugs in this population to reduce the risk of death from heart disease and stroke.
"However, this reduction was greater for women."
The researchers said that they did not know why there was a gender difference, but think it might be due to a combination of factors.
These include various adrenaline reactions to exercise and the fact that all women in the study were postmenopausal and therefore at higher risk for cardiovascular disease.
But Dr. Wheeler said that men and women from older age groups could benefit particularly from the morning exercise.
He said: "As the proportion of those who are overweight with high blood pressure increases with age, it may be important to adopt a strategy combining exercise with and sitting breaks to control and prevent the development of hypertension. "
Chris Allen, Senior Cardiology Nurse at the British Heart Foundation (BHF), said, "This study corroborates extensive evidence showing that regular physical activity can help lower your blood pressure and your heart attack risk and reduce the risk of heart attack. # 39; stroke.
"It can also help your body and mind. That is why 30 minutes of physical activity in the morning are a great way to get ready for the day.
"At BHF, we recommend that people who want to reduce their blood pressure exercise regularly, follow a healthy, mediterranean diet and have regular checkups.
"If you are new to being more active, you can always consult your doctor and ask for his opinion."
In the UK, about one in four adults suffers from hypertension.