Effect of changing levels of physical activity on blood-pressure and haemodynamics in essential hypertension

Lancet. 1986 Aug 30;2(8505):473-6. doi: 10.1016/s0140-6736(86)90354-5.


The long-term effect of exercise on blood-pressure (BP) was assessed in 13 untreated patients with essential hypertension. After a 6-week run-in period the levels of activity studied were sedentary, 45 min bicycling at 60-70% of maximum work capacity (Wmax) three times per week (3/week), and 45 min bicycling seven times per week (7/week), each for 4 weeks. The order differed between subjects in accordance with a Latin square. Supine BP, 48 h after each phase, averaged 148/99 mm Hg in the run-in and 143/96 mm Hg in the sedentary phase; it fell below values in the sedentary phase by 11/9 mm Hg with 3/week exercise, and by 16/11 mm Hg with 7/week exercise (both p less than 0.01). With increasing activity total peripheral resistance fell and the cardiac index rose. Plasma noradrenaline concentration fell below values in the sedentary phase by 21% and 33% after 3/week and 7/week exercise. Bodyweight and 24 h sodium excretion remained constant. Moderate regular exercise lowers BP and seems to be an important non-pharmacological method of treating hypertension.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Bicycling
  • Blood Pressure*
  • Cardiac Output
  • Female
  • Heart Rate
  • Hemodynamics*
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Norepinephrine / blood
  • Oxygen Consumption
  • Physical Exertion*
  • Posture
  • Vascular Resistance


  • Norepinephrine