Start your morning with 30 minutes of exercise and you can lower your blood pressure for the rest of the day if you’re between the ages of 55 and 80 and you’re overweight or obese.
Women in that category who take brief but frequent breaks from sitting throughout the day can maximize the blood pressure benefits of the morning exercise even more.
That’s according to new research published this week in the American Heart Association’s journal, Hypertension.
“Traditionally, the health effects of exercise and sedentary behaviour have been studied separately,” explained Australian researcher Michael Wheeler. “We conducted this study because we wanted to know whether there is a combined effect of these behaviours on blood pressure.
Wheeler and his team had 67 participants, including 35 women, take part in three different scenarios. One was sitting for eight hours. Another was 30 minutes of exercise (walking on a treadmill at moderate intensity) followed by 6.5 hours of sitting.
The third was one hour of sitting prior to 30 minutes of exercise followed by 6.5 hours of sitting which was interrupted by every 30 minutes with 3 minutes of light intensity walking.
The researchers found that average blood pressure, especially systolic blood pressure (the first number) was reduced among both men and women who took part in morning exercise, compared to when they did not exercise.
There was also a significant reduction in average systolic blood pressure for women when they combined morning exercise with frequent breaks from sitting throughout the day. For men, there was no additional blood pressure benefit to taking frequent breaks from sitting.