1. During the 1980s, there was growing epidemiological evidence that aerobic training lowered blood pressure (BP). Early intervention studies had not always supported this conclusion. Such studies were limited by methodological shortcomings. Few studies had used normotensive individuals or women alone. 2. Exercise training is an attractive lifestyle strategy in the prevention of hypertension. In our studies in men, vigorous intensity cycling did not lower resting BP. 3. Vigorous exercise reduces day time ambulatory BP and, in combination with calorie restriction, had a synergist effect to reduce night-time and 24 h BP. 4. Exercise is a positive and effective adjunct to other lifestyle measures in the prevention of hypertension. Adherence to either supervised or unsupervised moderate-intensity exercise is sufficient to reduce BP in the short and long term. 5. Further studies need to be performed to evaluate the clinical significance and mechanisms for the increase in resting BP observed in older women. 6. Older individuals with hypertension should be monitored when taking up a swimming programme. 7. Exercise induced changes in BP seen in the laboratory are also observed in the community setting.