Have high blood pressure? A few recent studies addressed how exercise can temporarily reduce blood pressure following a single exercise bout.  When exercising each day you extend this effect, all the while lowering blood pressure and weight:

Many people suffer from high blood pressure and don’t realize how effective both cardio and strength training can be for
reducing it throughout a day’s period. A recent study in the JSCR took 15 individuals diagnosed with hypertension and put them through one of three different bouts of exercise. The individuals either did 20 minutes of moderately intense jogging on the treadmill (70-80% of heart rate reserve), 20 minutes of circuit training (20 reps at 40% of 1 repetition maximum), or nothing (as a control to compare).

The study found that both the resistance training and cardio on the treadmill reduced systolic blood pressure (the top number) between 11 and 12.6 mm Hg between 30 and 45 minutes after the exercise was complete. Diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) was reduced by 4mm Hg from the treadmill work, and 9mm Hg after resistance training between 30 and 45 minutes after the exercise was complete. The blood pressure on both ends, with both bouts of exercise continued to be reduced throughout the following 7 hours, even with the individuals going through their normal work day (1).

An important thing to consider when looking at the results of this study is the fact that circuit training was used in the resistance training group. A similar study was done using “traditional” resistance training with heavier weights and increased rest times. This study found using 10 sets of heavy bicep curls to have no significant effect on lowering blood pressure, however 10 sets of heavy leg press was effective in reducing systolic blood pressure from an average of 120mm Hg to 107mm Hg 30 minutes after the exercise was completed. The blood pressure increased to 113mm Hg on average by 1 hour after the 10 sets of the leg press exercise (2). So for individuals suffering from hypertension, both cardiovascular training and resistance training (especially with low rest periods like in circuit training) can be effective for temporarily reducing blood pressure while making the individual healthier in the long term.

1. Mota, M., Pardono, E., Lima, L., Arsa, G., Bottaro, M., Campbell, C., Simoes, H. (2009). Effects of Treadmill Running and Resistance Exercise on Lowering Blood Pressure During the Daily Work of Hypertensive Subjects. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 23(8), 2331-2338. 2. Polito, M., Farinatti, P. (2009).The Effects of Muscle Mass and Number of Sets During Resistance Exercise on Postexercise Hypotension. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 23(8), 2351-2357.