Although moderate exercise results in numerous healthbenefits, it may not have much effect on systolic blood pressure(SBP), according to the results of a study published ina recent issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine. Thestudy included 104 adults between 55 and 75 years of agewith untreated high blood pressure. They were randomlyassigned to 6 months of moderate exercise or no exercise.
The workout group improved aerobic and strength fitness,increased lean body mass, and reduced abdominal obesity,compared with the nonexercise group. In addition, the workoutgroup showed an improvement in blood pressure, particularlya significant decrease in diastolic blood pressure(DBP). SBP was barely affected by the exercise regimen.
Upon further review, the researchers determined that the8% drop in SBP and the 17% drop in DBP were attributed tothe improvement in body composition—less body fat. Leadauthor Dr. Kerry J. Stewart from Johns Hopkins School ofMedicine noted, "These findings suggest that changes inbody composition seem to be an important pathway bywhich exercise training improves cardiovascular health inolder men and women."