You too can prevent hypertension: brisk walking could lower the risk of hypertension more than jogging. This is the surprising discovery of a study published on the American Heart Association journal “Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology”.
The study was conducted on over 33 thousand runners and 15 thousand regular brisk walkers between 18 and 80 years of age. Over a six-year period, researchers observed that the same energy expenditure for a moderate intensity walk and a high intensity run causes a similar reduction in the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, including coronary disease. Paul T. Williams, researcher at the Life Science Division of Berkeley, California and author of the study, explains that walking and running are ideal activities for this test because they involve the same muscle groups and movements but at different intensities.
Brisk walking is an activity that can be carried out by the vast majority of the population; it is in fact a far more sustainable activity than running for most people; it is appropriate for any age, does not require specific equipment and can be carried out at any time of day, including lunch breaks. Furthermore, it does not induce the stress on joints and tendons that running can cause.
This study is further proof of the importance of carrying out regular physical activity in a continuous way in order to lower blood pressure. The experts claim that physical activity is finally being considered a real form of therapy to be prescribed by doctors as a tool to improve and prevent hypertension and cardiovascular problems. It is however fundamentally important that, no matter what sport, it is carried out continuously. Those known as “weekend warriors”, who only engage in physical activity occasionally, such as during the weekend, actually risk worsening their health, since their body is not trained and suffers great stress when subjected to sudden efforts. The ideal prescription according to the American Heart Association is to carry out moderate physical activity, such as brisk walking, for at least half an hour at a time, five times a week, or alternatively a vigorous physical activity, such as running, for 25 minutes at a time, three times a week. These activities should ideally be followed by some stretching exercises.
The summer is here so it is time to go outside for a walk, enjoy the sun and prevent hypertension.
Scientific articles below:
- Walking speed and high blood pressure mortality risk in a spanish elderly population (Journal of Human Hypertension (2015), 1-7
- Daily walking N10 min could improve mental health in people with historical cardiovascular disease or COPD: Scottish Health Survey, 2012 (International Journal of Cardiology 179 (2015) 375–377)
- The six-minute walk distance is a marker of hemodynamic-related functional capacity in hypertension: a case–control study (Hypertension Research (2014) 37, 746–752)
- Low-Risk Diet and Lifestyle Habits in the Primary Prevention of Myocardial Infarction in Men : A Population-Based Prospective Cohort Study (JOURNAL OF T H E AMERICAN COL LE GE OF CARD IOLOGY VOL. 64, NO. 13, 2014)