A Comparison of Resting Blood Pressure Differences Between Those Trained in Different Exercise Modalities: Is Resistance Training as Beneficial as Aerobic Training to Cardiovascular Health?
University of Wales Institute Cardiff
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Resting blood pressure is a strong predictor of cardiovascular disease, with direct implications to cardiovascular health. Exercise is a powerful non-pharmacological treatment for hypertension. Aerobic forms of exercise are widely prescribed, yet anaerobic exercise has less support as an anti-hypertensive treatment. Therefore, this study aimed to discover whether those trained in aerobic or anaerobic exercise, or a combination of the two had lower resting blood pressure values, and thus which exercise modality was most beneficial to cardiovascular health. Twenty five exercise trained non-smokers were assigned to either an aerobic, anaerobic or mixed training group based upon their weekly training routine. Participants were then assessed for peripheral blood pressure. Those in the anaerobic training group recorded significantly lower mean resting diastolic blood pressure values than the aerobic training group (p < 0.05), and those in the mixed training group recorded significantly lower mean pulse pressure values than those in the anaerobic training group (p < 0.05). The findings of this study go against established beliefs that aerobic exercise should be the primary exercise modality used as a non-pharmacological treatment for hypertension. However, more recent research is strongly in favour of the inclusion of resistance training in training programmes designed to reduce resting blood pressure. The combination of both moderate intensity aerobic exercise and moderate intensity resistance training appears to provide the most benefit, giving the benefit of both exercise forms whilst being superior to both individual exercise type. In summary, this paper finds anaerobic exercise to be more effective than aerobic exercise in improving resting blood pressure values and has strong support for inclusion in anti-hypertensive exercise programmes.
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