Walking Intervention Can Lower BP in Sedentary Older Adults

In HealthDay News
by Healthday

Both systolic and diastolic blood pressure may improve among older adults taking additional 3,000 steps/day

By Elana Gotkine HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Oct. 10, 2023 (HealthDay News) — A lifestyle walking intervention can reduce blood pressure in sedentary older adults with hypertension, according to a study published online July 27 in the Journal of Cardiovascular Development and Disease.

Elizabeth C. Lefferts, Ph.D., from Iowa State University in Ames, and colleagues conducted a 20-week, pilot e-health lifestyle walking intervention in 21 sedentary older adults with hypertension to examine the effectiveness of increasing daily steps by 3,000 steps/day for blood pressure control. The intervention was composed of two stages: Behavioral change assistance was provided during the first active phase (weeks 1 to 10) to help reach step goals, while the second self-maintenance phase included minimal assistance (weeks 11 to 20). Nineteen of the participants completed assessments at weeks 10 and 20.

The researchers found that participants significantly increased their average step count/day from 3,899 ± 2,198 at baseline to 6,512 ± 2,633 and 5,567 ± 2,587 at 10 and 20 weeks, respectively. Both systolic and diastolic blood pressure improved after 20 weeks (137 ± 10 to 130 ± 11 mm Hg and 81 ± 6 to 77 ± 6 mm Hg, respectively). In participants with and without antihypertensive medication, the response was consistent.

“It’s exciting that a simple lifestyle intervention can be just as effective as structured exercise and some medications,” Lefferts said in a statement.

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