Hypertension is a ubiquitous and serious disease. Regular exercise has been recommended as a strategy for the prevention and treatment of hypertension because of its effects in reducing clinical blood pressure; however, ambulatory blood pressure is a better predictor of target-organ damage than clinical blood pressure, and therefore studying the effects of exercise on ambulatory blood pressure is important as well. Moreover, different kinds of exercise might produce distinct effects that might differ between normotensive and hypertensive subjects.The aim of this study was to review the current literature on the acute and chronic effects of aerobic and resistance exercise on ambulatory blood pressure in normotensive and hypertensive subjects. It has been conclusively shown that a single episode of aerobic exercise reduces ambulatory blood pressure in hypertensive patients. Similarly, regular aerobic training also decreases ambulatory blood pressure in hypertensive individuals. In contrast, data on the effects of resistance exercise is both scarce and controversial. Nevertheless, studies suggest that resistance exercise might acutely decrease ambulatory blood pressure after exercise, and that this effect seems to be greater after low-intensity exercise and in patients receiving anti-hypertensive drugs. On the other hand, only two studies investigating resistance training in hypertensive patients have been conducted, and neither has demonstrated any hypotensive effect. Thus, based on current knowledge, aerobic training should be recommended to decrease ambulatory blood pressure in hypertensive individuals, while resistance exercise could be prescribed as a complementary strategy.
Keywords: Blood pressure; Exercise; Hypertension; Physiology and Health.