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The effect of different doses of aerobic exercise training on exercise blood pressure in overweight and obese postmenopausal women

Swift, Damon L. PhD1; Earnest, Conrad P. PhD2; Katzmarzyk, Peter T. PhD3; Rankinen, Tuomo PhD4; Blair, Steven N. PED5; Church, Timothy S. MD, PhD1

doi: 10.1097/gme.0b013e318238ea66
Original Articles
Editorial

Objective: Abnormally elevated exercise blood pressure is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Aerobic exercise training has been shown to reduce exercise blood pressure. However, it is unknown whether these improvements occur in a dose-dependent manner. The purpose of the present study was to determine the effect of different doses of aerobic exercise training on exercise blood pressure in obese postmenopausal women.

Methods: Participants (N = 404) were randomized to one of four groups—groups with 4, 8, or 12 kcal/kg of energy expenditure per week or a nonexercise control group—for 6 months. Exercise blood pressure was obtained during the 50-watt stage of a cycle ergometer maximal exercise test.

Results: There was a significant reduction in systolic blood pressure at 50 watts in the 4 kcal/kg per week (−10.9 mm Hg, P < 0.001), 8 kcal/kg per week (−9.9 mm Hg, P = 0.022), and 12 kcal/kg per week (−13.7 mm Hg, P < 0.001) compared with control (−4.2 mm Hg). Only the highest exercise training dose significantly reduced diastolic blood pressure (−4.3 mm Hg, P = 0.033) compared with control. In addition, resting blood pressure was not altered after exercise training (P > 0.05) compared with control and was not associated with changes in exercise systolic (r = 0.09, P = 0.09) or diastolic (r = 0.10, P = 0.08) blood pressure.

Conclusions: Aerobic exercise training reduces exercise blood pressure and may be more modifiable than changes in resting blood pressure. A high dose of aerobic exercise is recommended to successfully reduce both exercise systolic and diastolic blood pressure and therefore may attenuate the cardiovascular disease risk associated with abnormally elevated exercise blood pressure.

In this study, aerobic exercise training reduced exercise blood pressure and may therefore attenuate the cardiovascular disease risk associated with abnormally elevated exercise blood pressure.

From the Departments of 1Preventive Medicine, 2Exercise Biology, 3Population Science, and 4Human Genomics, Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Baton Rouge, LA; and 5Department of Exercise Science, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC.

Received August 18, 2011; revised and accepted September 21, 2011.

Funding/support: This study was supported by National Institutes of Health Grant HL66262 and unrestricted research support from Coca-Cola.

Financial disclosure/conflicts of interests: None reported.

Address correspondence to: Damon L. Swift, PhD, 6400 Perkins Road, Baton Rouge, LA 70808. E-mail: Damon.Swift@pbrc.edu

©2012The North American Menopause Society