Exercise and Cardiovascular Risk in Patients With Hypertension
Sharman, JE and La Gerche, A and Coombes, JS, Exercise and Cardiovascular Risk in Patients With Hypertension, American Journal of Hypertension, 28, (2) pp. 147-158. ISSN 1941-7225 (2015) [Refereed Article]
Copyright 2014 American Journal of Hypertension Ltd.
Evidence for the benefits of regular exercise is irrefutable and increasing physical activity levels should be a major goal at all levels of health care. People with hypertension are less physically active than those without hypertension and there is strong evidence supporting the blood pressure-lowering ability of regular exercise, especially in hypertensive individuals. This narrative review discusses evidence relating to exercise and cardiovascular (CV) risk in people with hypertension. Comparisons between aerobic, dynamic resistance, and static resistance exercise have been made along with the merit of different exercise volumes. High-intensity interval training and isometric resistance training appear to have strong CV protective effects, but with limited data in hypertensive people, more work is needed in this area. Screening recommendations, exercise prescriptions, and special considerations are provided as a guide to decrease CV risk among hypertensive people who exercise or wish to begin. It is recommended that hypertensive individuals should aim to perform moderate intensity aerobic exercise activity for at least 30 minutes on most (preferably all) days of the week in addition to resistance exercises on 2-3 days/week. Professionals with expertise in exercise prescription may provide additional benefit to patients with high CV risk or in whom more intense exercise training is planned. Despite lay and media perceptions, CV events associated with exercise are rare and the benefits of regular exercise far outweigh the risks. In summary, current evidence supports the assertion of exercise being a cornerstone therapy in reducing CV risk and in the prevention, treatment, and control of hypertension.