The Effectiveness of a Prescribed 16 Week Exercise Programme on Blood Pressure and Obesity
University of Wales Institute Cardiff
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Background to study: Obesity is a global pandemic which is costing health economies a vast amount of money to treat due to the many health complications associated with it such as hypertension, diabetes and cardiovascular heart disease (termed together as metabolic syndrome). These can be prevented and even treated with simple changes to sedentary lifestyle and bad eating habits. Current literature suggests that exercise is an effective preventative tool to prevent obesity and can also be used as a treatment method instead of prescribing drugs. Objectives: The aim of the present study was to determine the effectiveness of a prescribed 16 week exercise programme on lowering blood pressure, waist circumference and weight (all factors contributing to obesity) in overweight and sedentary individuals. Methodology: Male (N = 4) and female (N = 15) sedentary subjects, mean age of 50 years old, attended the GP referral centre within Newport City Council run by the Aneurin Bevan Health Board. They had to meet the criteria set out by the centre and, providing they fit the criteria, were included in the study. Waist circumference, weight, height, blood pressure (systolic and diastolic) and resting heart rate were then taken and a medication questionnaire completed to ensure that they were not taking any hypertensive drugs or any form of weight loss tablets or supplements. The participants were then prescribed a 16 week exercise programme to follow, with supervision from the trained healthcare professionals, and the same variables were then measured after the 16 weeks. Results: Systolic blood pressure (BP) decreased in 73.7% (14/19) of subjects, remained the same in 15.8% (3/19) of subjects and increased in 10.5% (2/19) of subjects. An overall decrease of 9.79mmHg was observed with P-value of 0.011. Diastolic BP decreased in 68.4% (13/19) of subjects, increased in 26.3% (5/19) of subjects and remained the same in 5.3% (1/19) of subjects. An overall decrease of 2.79mmHg was observed with P-value of 0.175. Despite the lack in significance, the exercise programme still had a beneficial effect on BP. Body weight decreased in 73.7% (14/19) of subjects, increased in 15.8% (3/19) of subjects and remained the same in 10.5% (2/19) subjects. An overall decrease in 3.58kg was observed with P-value of 0.009 which implies that the data is statistically significant. Waist circumference (WC) decreased in 73.7% (14/19) of subjects, increased in 15.8% (3/19) of subjects and remained the same in 10.5% (2/19) of subjects. An overall decrease of 5.23cm was observed with P-value of 0.000 which is statistically significant. Conclusion: Within sedentary, obese subjects, a correlation between increased exercise participation and its effect on lowering waist circumference, systolic BP and weight has been shown. The lack of correlation between decreasing diastolic BP with increased exercise may support the current literature suggesting that diastolic BP is much harder to change once it has reached its peak.
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