If you have a family history of high blood pressure, you may be able to significantly reduce your risk of developing high blood pressure with moderate exercise and increased cardiovascular fitness.
This is according to new research published in the American Heart Association’s journal Hypertension.
In a study of more than 6,000 people, those who had a parent with high blood pressure but were highly fit had a 34 percent lower risk of developing high blood pressure themselves, compared to those with a low-fitness level who had the same parental history.
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“Understanding the roles that family history and fitness play in chronic diseases is critically important,” said Robin P. Shook, M.S., study lead author and a doctoral graduate student at the University of South Carolina.
“The results of this study send a very practical message, which is that even a very realistic, moderate amount of exercise — which we define as brisk walking for 150 minutes per week — can provide a huge health benefit, particularly to people predisposed to hypertension because of their family history.”
The findings support the American Heart Association’s recommendations of moderately intense physical activity, such as brisk walking, for 30 minutes or longer at least five days a week.
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Hypertension. 59(6):1220-1224, June 2012. “Cardiorespiratory Fitness Reduces the Risk of Incident Hypertension Associated With a Parental History of Hypertension.” Robin P. Shook, M.S., Duck-chul Lee, Ph.D.; Xumei Sui, M.D., M.P.H.; Vivek Prasad, M.B.B.S.; Steven P. Hooker, Ph.D.; Timothy S. Church, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D. and Steven N. Blair, P.E.D.