Aerobic exercise reduces blood pressure in resistant hypertension

Hypertension. 2012 Sep;60(3):653-8. doi: 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.112.197780. Epub 2012 Jul 16.


Regular physical exercise is broadly recommended by current European and American hypertension guidelines. It remains elusive, however, whether exercise leads to a reduction of blood pressure in resistant hypertension as well. The present randomized controlled trial examines the cardiovascular effects of aerobic exercise on resistant hypertension. Resistant hypertension was defined as a blood pressure ≥140/90 mm Hg in spite of 3 antihypertensive agents or a blood pressure controlled by ≥4 antihypertensive agents. Fifty subjects with resistant hypertension were randomly assigned to participate or not to participate in an 8- to 12-week treadmill exercise program (target lactate, 2.0±0.5 mmol/L). Blood pressure was assessed by 24-hour monitoring. Arterial compliance and cardiac index were measured by pulse wave analysis. The training program was well tolerated by all of the patients. Exercise significantly decreased systolic and diastolic daytime ambulatory blood pressure by 6±12 and 3±7 mm Hg, respectively (P=0.03 each). Regular exercise reduced blood pressure on exertion and increased physical performance as assessed by maximal oxygen uptake and lactate curves. Arterial compliance and cardiac index remained unchanged. Physical exercise is able to decrease blood pressure even in subjects with low responsiveness to medical treatment. It should be included in the therapeutic approach to resistant hypertension.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antihypertensive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Blood Pressure / physiology*
  • Blood Pressure Monitoring, Ambulatory
  • Circadian Rhythm / physiology
  • Drug Resistance*
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Exercise Test
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / drug therapy*
  • Hypertension / physiopathology*
  • Hypertension / therapy
  • Lactates / blood
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oxygen Consumption / physiology
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antihypertensive Agents
  • Lactates