While both aerobic and resistance exercise have been associated with reduction in blood pressure, one in five patients with hypertension reported that exercise was not recommended to them by their healthcare provider in a study published in the Journal of Human Hypertension.

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) 2011 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System on 197,976 adults with hypertension was reviewed for reported frequency of physical activities. Respondents who reported ≥150 min of moderate-intensity or ≥75 min of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity and resistance training ≥2 times per week were considered to meet aerobic exercise and resistance guidelines.

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Of the hypertensive patients, 77.5% were given advice to exercise by a healthcare provider; those who received this recommendation were twice as likely to report exercising for blood pressure control. However, just under 15% of respondents who were advised to exercise met both aerobic and resistance exercise guidelines (33.3% met aerobic exercise guidelines only vs. 7.2% who met resistance exercise guidelines only). Advice to patients from a healthcare professional on improving eating habits, reducing salt and alcohol intake, or use of blood pressure medication did not appear to impact the likelihood of the patient meeting exercise guidelines.

An accompanying commentary urges clinicians to assess whether or not they are recommending exercise to hypertensive patients consistently, and if patients who exercise are meeting the USPSTF Recommendations for Physical Activity.

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