(HealthDay News) — Increased exercise capacity is associated with lower mortality rates in elderly men with hypertension, according to research published online May 12 in Hypertension.

Peter F. Kokkinos, PhD, of the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Washington, DC, and colleagues measured exercise capacity in 2,153 men, aged ≥70 years , with hypertension and assessed its relationship to all-cause mortality during a mean follow-up period of 9.0 ± 5.5 years. Fitness categories based on peak metabolic equivalents (METs) achieved during exercise tolerance testing and adjusted for age were as follows: very-low-fit (2.0–4.0 METs; 386 patients), low-fit (4.1–6.0 METs; 1,058 patients), moderate-fit (6.1–8.0 METs; 495 patients), and high-fit (>8.0 METs; 214 patients).

The researchers found that, for every 1-MET increase in exercise capacity, risk of mortality was 11% lower (hazard ratio [HR], 0.89; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.86–0.93; P<0.001). Compared with men who achieved ≤4.0 METs on the exercise tolerance test, risk of mortality was lower by 18% for the low-fit (HR, 0.82; 95% CI, 0.70–0.95; P=0.011), by 36% for the moderate-fit (HR, 0.64; 95% CI, 0.52–0.78; P<0.001), and by 48% for the high-fit (HR, 0.52; 95 CI, 0.39–0.69; P<0.001).

“These findings suggest that exercise capacity is associated with lower mortality risk in elderly hypertensive men,” the authors write.

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