Blood pressure lowering effect of low intensity aerobic training in elderly hypertensive patients. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., Vol. 30, No. 6, pp. 818-823, 1998.
Purpose: The purpose of this investigation was to determine the effect of 9 months of low intensity aerobic training on blood pressure in elderly hypertensive patients who were receiving antihypertensive medication.
Methods: The training group (N = 13; mean age 75.4 ± 5.4 yr) agreed to take part in physical training using a treadmill with an exercise intensity at the blood lactate threshold (LT) for 30 min three to six times a week for 9 months. The rest (N = 13; mean age 73.1 ± 4.2 yr) served as controls.
Results: The resting systolic (−15 ± 8 mm Hg), mean (−11 ± 6 mm Hg), and diastolic blood pressures (−9 ± 9 mm Hg) decreased significantly after 3 months of training and the blood pressure of all participants stabilized at a significantly lower level by the end of the study (9 months) in the training group, whereas no significant changes in blood pressure were found in the control group. Both the pretraining systolic and diastolic blood pressure of those recruited patients negatively correlated with those changes after the training (SBP: P < 0.01; DBP: P < 0.05, respectively). After 1 month of detraining in five patients, the blood pressure levels were similar to those in the pretraining state. The LT increased significantly in the training group (P < 0.01).
Conclusion: In conclusion, an additional antihypertensive effect of mild aerobic training at the LT was confirmed in elderly patients receiving antihypertensive medication. The cessation of such training in five patients, however, resulted in a relatively rapid return to pretraining levels within a month.