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Physical activity and fitness for the prevention of hypertension

Bakker, Esmée, A.a,b; Sui, Xuemeic; Brellenthin, Angelique, G.d; Lee, Duck-chuld

Current Opinion in Cardiology: July 2018 - Volume 33 - Issue 4 - p 394–401
doi: 10.1097/HCO.0000000000000526
HYPERTENSION: Edited by Hector O. Ventura and Carl J. Lavie

Purpose of review The aim of this review is to evaluate the most recent literature about the role of physical activity, exercise, and fitness in hypertension prevention.

Recent findings Strong evidence indicates that performing moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, particularly aerobic exercise, and improving cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) reduce blood pressure (BP) levels and lower hypertension incidence. Although evidence is limited, performing resistance exercise or improving muscular strength appears to be associated with a lower incidence of hypertension. Furthermore, reducing sedentary time or replacing sedentary time with physical activity might lower BP.

Summary To lower the risk of hypertension, promoting physical activity and improving fitness, especially CRF, should be encouraged. More research is needed to determine the effects of sedentary behavior, resistance exercise, and muscle strength on the development of hypertension across diverse populations and settings. Future studies should focus on dose–response relationships of exercise and physical activity with the development of hypertension to determine the minimal and optimal amount of exercise and physical activity for hypertension prevention.

aDepartment of Physiology, Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, The Netherlands

bResearch Institute for Sports and Exercise Sciences, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool, UK

cDepartment of Exercise Science, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina

dDepartment of Kinesiology, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, USA

Correspondence to Duck-chul Lee, PhD, Department of Kinesiology, Iowa State University, 103H Forker Building, 534 Wallace Road, Ames, IA 50011-4008, USA. Tel: +1 515 294 8042; fax: +1 515 294 8740; e-mail:

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