Short-Term Effects of a Single Exercise Bout at Moderate Altitude on Blood Pressure

in Journal of Sport Rehabilitation
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Context:

Effects of a single bout of exercise at moderate altitude on blood pressure (BP) are largely unknown.

Objective:

To evaluate the effect of a single exercise bout at moderate altitude on BP.

Design:

Prospective, observational.

Setting:

Field study, Alpine mountains.

Participants:

127 men, 71 women (138 normotensive, 60 hypertensive).

Intervention:

Exercise duration: 2.5 ± 0.4 h; 650-m difference in altitude.

Main Outcome Measures:

BP and heart rate (HR).

Results:

Hypertensives had (1) higher systolic BP (SBP) and diastolic BP (DBP) before exercise (P < .01), whereas this difference was lost during exercise; (2) increased HR during the entire duration of exercise; and (3) significantly decreased SBP and DBP (P < .05) throughout the entire period of exercise.

Conclusions:

Exposure to a single exercise bout at moderate altitude is associated with a transient decrease in SBP and DBP, which is more pronounced in hypertensives.

The authors are with the Second Medical Dept, Division of Cardiology and Intensive Care, General Hospital Wels, Grieskirchnerstrase 42, A-4600 Wels, Austria