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Low-Intensity Exercise Training Improves Survival in Dahl Salt Hypertension


Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: May 2006 - Volume 38 - Issue 5 - pp 856-858
doi: 10.1249/01.mss.0000218129.03008.ab
BASIC SCIENCES: Original Investigations

Purpose: The present study examined whether exercise training could increase survival in a rodent model of salt-sensitive hypertension.

Methods: Male, inbred Dahl salt-sensitive rats arriving at 8 wk of age were randomly divided into a sedentary control group (N = 5) or an exercise-trained group (N = 8). Exercise training consisted of running 20 m·min−1, 0% incline, 60 min·d−1, 5 d·wk −1 on a motorized driven treadmill. On arrival, animals were fed a low-salt diet (0.12% NaCl) during a 1-wk acclimatization period. At the end of this period, all rats were then fed a high-salt diet (7.8% NaCl) for the remainder of the study. Arterial systolic blood pressure (SBP) was measured via the tail-cuff method.

Results: Systolic blood pressure (SBP) measured on the low salt diet was similar between groups. After 2 wk of a high-salt diet, SBP was similarly significantly elevated in both control and exercise groups relative to the low salt diet. Kaplan-Meier analysis showed that exercise training increased survival (P < 0.02) with an approximate 30% increase in the mean days survived with exercise training (P < 0.02).

Conclusion: These data suggest that exercise training is an important intervention for salt-sensitive hypertension and that the enhanced survival observed with exercise training appears to be independent of training-induced SBP lowering effects.

1Department of Kinesiology, 2Department of Physiology, and 3Cardiovascular Research Center, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA

Address for correspondence: Joseph R. Libonati, PhD, Temple University, 122 Pearson Hall, 1800 North Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19122; E-mail:

Submitted for publication August 2005.

Accepted for publication November 2005.

©2006The American College of Sports Medicine