HALF an hour of light walking each morning can be just as effective as taking a pill to cut blood pressure, research suggests.
Experts found a short burst of gentle activity first thing had a protective effect throughout the rest of the day.
Getty – Contributor A thirty minute walk in the morning can be ‘as effective’ as a pill in reducing blood pressure, research shows
Researchers from the University of Western Australia followed 67 tubby older adults.
They found just 30 minutes moderate walking in the morning helped reduce their blood pressure readings for the rest of the day.
Lead researcher Michael Wheeler said: “For both men and women, the magnitude of reduction in average systolic blood pressure following exercise and breaks in sitting approached what might be expected from anti-hypertensive medication in this population to reduce the risk of death from heart disease and stroke.”
High blood pressure is known as the silent killer, because signs often go unnoticed until it is too late.
Under NHS rules, it is a reading over 140/90mmHg – meaning a third of adults are eligible for treatment.
Around 12 million Brits take drugs for high blood pressure.
Dr Wheeler added: “As the proportion of those who are overweight with higher blood pressure increases with age, adopting a strategy of combining exercise with breaks in sitting may be important to control and prevent the development of high blood pressure.”
The British Heart Foundation welcomed the study, published in the journal Hypertension [pls keep], saying 30 minutes of morning exercise was also good for mental health.
Chris Allen, senior cardiac nurse at the BHF, said: “This study supports a huge body of evidence that shows regular physical activity can help towards lowering your blood pressure and help reduce your risk of heart attacks and strokes.”
It comes as a second study reveals 30 minutes of intense exercise in the evening does not affect sleep – but may help to reduce hunger.
Researchers at Charles Sturt University in Australia recruited 11 middle-aged men to complete three tests.
They compared the impact of exercise performed in the morning, afternoon and evening on slumber and appetite.
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The study, published in the journal Experimental Physiology, found physical activity at night did not affect sleep.
Evening exercise also resulted in greater reductions in a hunger stimulating hormone compared to working out earlier in the day.
Researcher Penelope Larsen said: “Time-of-day may also need to be considered when planning training schedules.”
High blood pressure ‘hypertension’ raises the risk of heart attacks and strokes