Physical exercise may be as effective as medications for lowering high blood pressure (140 mm Hg), a new study, considered the first research of its kind, indicates. The study was published recently in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
While encouraging, the findings must not convince patients to abandon their medication in favor of physical exercise for the moment, but patients might also want to boost their physical activity routines, points out the study’s leading author Huseyin Naci, of the Department of Health Policy at the School of Economics and Political Science in London, England.
Physical exercise may indeed decrease systolic blood pressure which is the level of pressure in the blood vessels when the heart is beating and is the highest value in a blood pressure measurement, the scientists said. However, it was not yet clear how physical activity compared with blood pressure medications. That until now, though, as the new study concluded that exercise is as effective as hypertension drugs.
Physical Exercise May Be As Effective As Medications In Patients With High Blood Pressure
The research revealed that blood pressure was significantly lower in those who were treated with medications as compared to people who were on a regular physical activity routine. However, when the trials were restricted to people with high blood pressure, physical exercises were as effective as most hypertension drugs.
According to the researchers, there is “convincing evidence that the combination of resistance and dynamic resistance training was effective in reducing systolic blood pressure.” However, the results might be biased as the exercise trials were fewer than those involving hypertension drugs. Also, the scientists warned that people should not abandon their medications, but they should combine drugs treatment with exercising.
“We don’t believe, based on our study, that patients should stop taking their antihypertensive medications. But we hope our findings will inform evidence-based discussions between clinicians and their patients,” concluded Huseyin Naci.