Regular Walking Helps Control high Blood Pressure, reveals study
Hypertension is responsible for approximately nine million deaths worldwide each year and an estimated 1.13 billion people globally have hypertension, with two‐thirds living in low‐ and middle‐income countries. The researchers have found moderate and low-certainty evidence suggesting that walking may reduce both systolic and diastolic blood pressure of all ages in both sexes. The review article was published in the Cochrane on February 24, 2021.
Increased physical activity has been recommended as an important lifestyle modification for the prevention and control of hypertension. Walking is a low-cost form of physical activity and one which most people can do. Studies testing the effect of walking on blood pressure have revealed inconsistent findings. Therefore, Dr Ling‐Ling Lee and colleague conducted a study to determine the effect of walking as a physical activity intervention on blood pressure and heart rate.
Researchers reviewed data from the following databases up to March 2020: the Cochrane Hypertension Specialised Register, CENTRAL (2020, Issue 2), Ovid MEDLINE, Ovid Embase, CINAHL, PsycINFO, SPORTDiscus, PEDro, the WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform, and ClinicalTrials.gov. They also reviewed Chinese databases up to May 2020. they also contacted authors of relevant papers regarding further published and unpublished work. They included a total of 73 randomized controlled trials of 5763 participants from 22 countries, which evaluated the effects of a walking intervention compared to non‐intervention control on blood pressure and heart rate.
Key findings of the study were:
• The researchers found moderate-certainty evidence suggesting that walking reduces systolic blood pressure (SBP).
• They also found moderate-certainty evidence suggesting that walking reduces SBP in participants aged 40 years and under and low-certainty evidence that walking reduces SBP in participants aged 41 and over in both genders.
• They further found low-certainty evidence suggesting that walking reduces diastolic blood pressure (DBP) and heart rate.
• They observed a total of eight adverse events in 21 studies, with knee injury reported five times as an adverse event.
The authors concluded, "Moderate‐certainty evidence suggests that walking probably reduces SBP. Moderate‐ or low‐certainty evidence suggests that walking may reduce SBP for all ages and both sexes. Low‐certainty evidence suggests that walking may reduce DBP and heart rate. Moderate‐ and low‐certainty evidence suggests walking may reduce DBP and heart rate for all ages and both sexes."
They further added, "Our findings suggest that moderate-intensity walking, three to five times per week, of 20 to 40 minutes duration, and 150 minutes per week for approximately three months could have an effect on lowering blood pressure."
For further information: