Double Up On Exercise To Prevent High Blood Pressure Later In Life: Study

A new study recommends doubling the current exercise guidelines to five hours of moderate-intensity activity per week in young adulthood.

Double Up On Exercise To Prevent High Blood Pressure Later In Life: Study

Researchers tracked over 5,000 people for 30 years.

People who want to avoid high blood pressure later in life should prioritise exercise in their young adulthood, according to a new study. Researchers followed over 5,000 people for 30 years and found that exercise levels significantly dropped between ages 18 and 40, while high blood pressure rates increased.

The study that was published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine suggests that people should aim for at least 5 hours of moderate-intensity exercise each week, which is twice the current recommendation. However, researchers acknowledge that this may be challenging due to life changes and growing responsibilities.

"Teenagers and those in their early 20s may be physically active, but these patterns change with age," study author and epidemiologist Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) explained.

"Nearly half of our participants in young adulthood had suboptimal levels of physical activity, which was significantly associated with the onset of hypertension, indicating that we need to raise the minimum standard for physical activity," said lead author Jason Nagata, a UCSF expert in young adult medicine.

"Achieving at least twice the current minimum adult [physical activity] guidelines may be more beneficial for the prevention of hypertension than simply meeting the minimum guidelines," the researchers wrote in their paper.

The study also identified racial disparities in exercise and hypertension. Black men and women had lower activity levels and higher blood pressure rates compared to their white counterparts.