Habitual exercise decreases systolic blood pressure during low-intensity resistance exercise in healthy middle-aged and older individuals

Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2016 Oct 1;311(4):H1024-H1030. doi: 10.1152/ajpheart.00379.2016. Epub 2016 Aug 12.


Since aerobic exercise (e.g., walking) and resistance exercise (e.g., lifting objects and mopping) are both parts of the activities of daily living, an exaggerated elevation in systolic blood pressure (SBP) during aerobic and resistance exercise is an early marker of cardiovascular disease. This study investigated the effects of habitual exercise on SBP during low-intensity resistance exercise using both cross-sectional and interventional approaches. First, in 57 normotensive women (61.9 ± 1.0 yr of age), daily physical activity level, as assessed by triaxial accelerometry, was correlated with SBP during resistance exercise at 20 and 40% of the 1 repetition maximum (r = -0.408 and r = -0.348, respectively). Maximal oxygen uptake was correlated with SBP during exercise at 20% (r = -0.385) and 40% (r = -0.457). Physical activity level or maximal oxygen uptake was identified as a predictor of SBP during the exercise in stepwise regression analysis, independent of SBP at rest and other factors (R2 = 0.729-0.781). Second, 66 men and women (64.6 ± 0.9 yr of age) participated in a 6-wk intervention as a part of the training (walking, 4.3 ± 0.3 days/wk, 55.6 ± 4.1 min/day, 70.7 ± 1.2% of maximal heart rate) or control group. SBP during resistance exercise in the training group decreased after the intervention (before vs. after: 20%, 143 ± 4 vs. 128 ± 4 mmHg; and 40%, 148 ± 5 vs. 134 ± 4 mmHg). In the control group, there were no significant differences in SBP before and after the intervention. SBP during resistance exercise after the intervention was lower in the training group relative to the control group. These results suggest that habitual exercise decreases SBP during low-intensity resistance exercise.

Keywords: aerobic exercise training; daily physical activity; low-intensity resistance exercise; maximal oxygen uptake; systolic blood pressure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accelerometry
  • Aged
  • Blood Pressure / physiology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Exercise Test
  • Female
  • Healthy Volunteers
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oxygen Consumption
  • Regression Analysis
  • Resistance Training*
  • Systole