People who exercised moderately for at least five hours per week in early adulthood had an 18% lower risk of developing high blood pressure than those who exercised less than five hours per week.
The likelihood was even lower for participants who maintained their exercise habits until age 60.
While current guidelines say adults should get at least two and a half hours of moderate-intensity exercise each week, but the study conducted by the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) found that the increase in exercising for up to five hours a week can protect against high blood pressure in your 40s – especially if it stays in your 30s, 40s, and 50s.
In the study, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, researchers followed about 5,000 adults between the ages of 18 and 30 for 30 years. Participants were asked about their exercise habits, medical history, smoking, and alcohol consumption. Blood pressure and weight were monitored, as well as cholesterol and triglycerides.
Hypertension was noted if the blood pressure was 130 above 80 mmHg, the threshold established in 2017 by the American College of Cardiology / American Heart Association.
“The results of randomized controlled trials and observational studies have shown that exercise lowers blood pressure, suggesting that it may be important to focus on exercise as a means of lowering blood pressure in everyone. adults as they approach middle age, ”said Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at UCSF.
“Adolescents and youth in their twenties can be physically active, but these patterns change with age. Our study suggests that maintaining physical activity during young adulthood – at levels higher than previously recommended – may be particularly important, ”Bibbins-Domingo added.