Levels of physical activity in modern urbanized society are clearly insufficient to maintain good health, and to prevent cardiovascular and other disease. Aerobic exercise is almost completely free of secondary effects, and is a useful adjunctive therapy in treating hypertension. There are several possible mechanisms to account for the beneficial effects of exercise in reducing blood pressure, the resulting physiological effects usually being classified as acute, post-exercise or chronic. Variations in genetic background, hypertension etiology, pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics may explain the different blood pressure responses to exercise among hypertensive patients. The present review discusses the different pathophysiological aspects of the response to exercise in hypertensives, including its modulators and diagnostic and prognostic usefulness, as well as the latest guidelines on prescribing and monitoring exercise regimes and drug therapy in the clinical follow-up of active hypertensive patients.
Copyright © 2011 Sociedade Portuguesa de Cardiologia. Published by Elsevier España. All rights reserved.