Walking, but Not Weight Lifting, Acutely Reduces Systolic Blood Pressure in Older, Sedentary Men and Women

in Journal of Aging and Physical Activity
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An elderly patient population was used to investigate whether an acute bout of aerobic exercise (AE) would reduce systolic blood pressure (SBP) to a greater extent than would a bout of weight lifting (WL). SBPs were studied in the context of a laboratory Stressor as well as during activities of daily living using ambulatory monitoring devices (AMBPs). Patients participated in a laboratory Stressor and were monitored via AMBP for 8 hr. SBPs were lower for up to 5 hr postexercise for the AE treatment only. In addition, in comparison to no-exercise control data, baseline SBP was lower for the AE group than the WL group prior to the Stressor. Subjects in the AE condition also tended to have lower SBP responses following exercise than patients in the WL group, although these differences did not reach a conventional level of statistical significance. These data provide evidence that single bouts of AE, but not WL, may lower SBP in elderly patients, even for those who have compromised function due to osteoarthritis of the knee.

W.J. Rejeski, K.M. Neal, M.E. Wurst, and P.H. Brubaker are with the Departments of Health & Sport Science and Cardiac Rehabilitation, Wake Forest University. W.H. Ettinger, Jr., is with the Bowman Gray School of Medicine, Wake Forest University. Direct correspondence to W. Jack Rejeski, Department of Health & Sport Science, Wake Forest University, Reynolda Campus, Box 7234, Winston-Salem, NC 27109.