In a study of over 6,200 people, those who had a parent with high blood pressure but were highly fit had a 34% lower risk of getting high blood pressure themselves, in comparison to those with a low-fitness level who had the same parental history.
The outcomes of this research sends a very useful message, which is that even a moderate amount of exercise, which is defined as brisk walking for 150 minutes each week, can provide a tremendous health benefit, especially to individuals predisposed to high blood pressure because of their family history.
Earlier research shows that parental history is the reason for about 35% to 65% of the variation in blood pressure in offspring, and varying levels of risk dependant on which parent developed it as well as the age of onset.
Researchers followed a group of 6,278 20 – 80 year old individuals for an average 4.7 years. 33% of individuals reported that a parent had high blood pressure.
When the study started all individuals were healthy, reported no clinical diagnosis of high blood pressure, and had an exercise test score of a minimum of 85% of their age-predicted maximal heart rate. The scientists determined their cardio respiratory fitness making use a treadmill exercise test.
In the course of the study, 1,545 individuals reported they had developed high blood pressure. Researchers found that:
Study results may not apply to all individuals due to the fact that most of the study participants were relatively fit men.
The results support the recommendations by the British Heart Association of moderately intense exercise like brisk walking, for half an hour or more at least 5 days every week.