February 20, 2019
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Exercise with breaks in sitting lowers BP in older patients with overweight, obesity

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Older patients with overweight or obesity who exercised in the morning had BP reductions that persisted during an 8-hour period vs. those with prolonged sitting, according to a study published in Hypertension.

“Traditionally, the health effects of exercise and sedentary behavior have been studied separately,” Michael J. Wheeler, BSc, PhD candidate at the University of Western Australia in Perth, said in a press release. “We conducted this study because we wanted to know whether there is a combined effect of these behaviors on blood pressure.”

Researchers analyzed data from 67 patients (mean age, 67 years; 35 women; mean BMI, 31 kg/m2) with overweight or obesity who completed three laboratory trial conditions in random order. Each condition was separated by at least 6 days. The three conditions were the following:

sitting: uninterrupted sitting for 8 hours (control);

exercise and sitting: sitting for 1 hour, moderate-intensity treadmill walking for 30 minutes and uninterrupted sitting for 6.5 hours; and

exercise and breaks: sitting for 1 hour, moderate-intensity treadmill walking for 30 minutes and sitting for 6.5 hours that was interrupted every 30 minutes with light-intensity treadmill walking for 3 minutes.

Ratings of perceived exertion and heart rate were measured at the end of each 3-minute walking break and at 5-minute intervals during 30-minute sessions of exercise. Blood samples were also taken to measure epinephrine and norepinephrine.

Compared with uninterrupted sitting, patients during the exercise and sitting condition had lower systolic (–3.4 mm Hg; 95% CI, –4.5 to –2.3) and diastolic BP (–0.8 mm Hg; 95% CI, –1.6 to –0.04). Patients during exercise with breaks condition also had decreases in systolic (–5.1 mm Hg; 95% CI, –6.2 to –4) and diastolic BP (–1.1 mm Hg; 95% CI, –1.8 to –0.3) vs. uninterrupted sitting.

Patients during the exercise with breaks condition had additional reductions in average systolic BP compared with the exercise with sitting condition (–1.7 mm Hg; 95% CI, –2.8 to –0.6). The additional reductions were seen more in women (–3.2 mm Hg; 95% CI, –4.7 to –1.7).

Compared with uninterrupted sitting, women had decreases in epinephrine during the exercise and sitting condition and the exercise with breaks condition (–13% to –12%; P < .05). Epinephrine increased in men during these two conditions (12% to 23%; P < .05). There were no differences in average norepinephrine.

“Although longer-term studies are required to corroborate our findings, this line of evidence may inform clinical and public health discussions around tailored strategies to optimize BP targets in older adults with increased cardiovascular disease risk,” Wheeler and colleagues wrote. – by Darlene Dobkowski

Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.