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Medication might not be the only way to reduce blood pressure in overweight adults

Medication might not be the only way to reduce blood pressure in overweight adults

A study conducted by The University of Western Australia and the Baker Institute found that just 30 minutes of moderately intense walking can help improve brain blood flow in overweight and obese adults.

Researchers monitored 12 men and women aged between 55 and 80 over three separate sessions. The first required participants to sit for eight hours straight.

"What we found was that during uninterrupted sitting, there was a pattern of decline in brain blood flow over eight hours," the study's lead researcher Michael Wheeler said.

The second session saw them sit for an hour followed by 30 minutes of walking on a treadmill and then sitting for the next 6.5 hours uninterrupted

For the third part of the study, participants sat for an hour, then completed 30-minutes of walking and sat for another 6.5 hours, however, this sitting session was interrupted with three minutes of light-intensity walking every 30 minutes.

"When participants performed a morning bout of exercise with or without subsequent breaks in sitting, brain blood flow improved in the afternoon, several hours after exercise."

The reduction of uninterrupted sitting and increase in moderately intense exercise proved to have similar effects to that of medication prescribed to adults suffering from high blood pressure.

"For both men and women, the magnitude of reduction in average systolic blood pressure following exercise and breaks in sitting approached what might be expected from anti-hypertensive medication in this population to reduce the risk of death from heart disease and stroke."

It was also found women benefited greater than men when their 6.5 hour sitting session was interrupted with three minute walks.

High blood pressure - commonly known as hypertension - affects up to one in four adults in the UK, according to the NHS. It is commonly linked to heart disease and stroke, however, lifestyle and diet changes are known to prevent and treat it.

The idea of using exercise to increase blood circulation isn't new, a number of studies have already discovered this, however, this research looked into the effects on blood pressure specifically.

"Traditionally, the health effects of exercise and sedentary behaviour have been studied separately. We conducted this study because we wanted to know whether there is a combined effect of these behaviours on blood pressure," Wheeler said.

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