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Exercising During Leisure-Time Tied to Reducing High Blood Pressure Risk

Update Date: Sep 30, 2013 04:06 PM EDT

With busy work, school or family schedules, leisure time can become a very important time slot in one's day. During this rare allotted time, people choose to partake in a wide range of relaxing activities. In a new study, researchers reported that people who choose to exercise during their leisure time are lowering their own risk of high blood pressure, also known as hypertension.

For this study, the research team examined data from 13 different studies that focused on how physical activity affects blood pressure. The combined data included 136,846 people living in the United States, Europe or East Asia. All of the people from these studies had healthy blood pressure levels at the beginning of the study. Over 15,600 of the people ended up developing hypertension during the follow-up periods, which ranged from two to 45 years after the start of the studies.

The researchers calculated that people who exercised more than four hours each week during their leisure time had a 19 percent reduced risk of hypertension when compared to people who only exercised less than one hour each week. For people who exercised around one to three hours per week, their risk of high blood pressure dropped 11 percent.

The researchers know that the link between exercising and reducing one's risk of health conditions is not a new discovery. However, they hope that their findings could provide more motivation for people to get up and be active especially during their leisure time.

"Hypertension is a risk factor for cardiovascular and kidney disease -- thus, it is important to prevent and control hypertension," said Wei Ma, M.D., Ph.D., study co-author and associate professor at the Shandong University School of Public Health in Jinan, China. "To try to lower your risk of high blood pressure, you should exercise more in your leisure time."

The study was published in the American Heart Association journal, Hypertension

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