By Jonathon Stavres MS, ACSM-EP-C
High blood pressure is a condition that affects nearly one-third of American adults only half of which have their pressure under control. A common recommendation for treating high blood pressure is to begin a regular exercise program, particularly heavy on aerobic exercise.
Research suggests that aerobic exercise can help control chronic high blood pressure following a long period of regular exercise, and it can also lower blood pressure immediately following just one session (otherwise known as post-exercise hypotension)(2).
Part of maintaining an exercise regimen properly is setting up a schedule. In most cases, the time selected for an exercise bout is based on convenience. However, some new data suggests that there may be optimal times of the day to exercise if the goal is to reduce blood pressure.
A recent study by de Brito et al. (2015) examined the effect that time of day has on blood pressure regulation. More specifically, this study focused on the differences in post-exercise hypotension between exercise performed in the morning and evening.
In this study, 16 males who were pre-hypertensive performed a cycling exercise protocol at moderate intensity in the morning and in the evening. Results indicated that systolic and diastolic blood pressures were reduced following both sessions, but those reductions were more significant following exercise in the morning.
What does this mean for the average person dealing with high blood pressure?
When designing an exercise program it is very compelling to want to schedule around convenience. However, when the exercise is intended to help treat a chronic disease it should be scheduled around the time day where the most benefit can be achieved.
Results from the aforementioned study suggest that an early morning exercise session might be more suitable to those working on controlling their high blood pressure.
*For more examples of other variations/exercises look under Multimedia-VDF Exercise Tips
**Consult with a physician and/or medical healthcare provider before starting any exercise regimen
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de Brito, L. C., Rezende, R. A., da Silva Jr, N. D., Tinucci, T., Casarini, D. E., Cipolla-Neto, J., & Forjaz, C. L. M. (2015). Post-exercise hypoension and its mechanisms differ after morning and evening exercise: A randomized crossover study. Plos One.doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0132458
Halliwill, J. R., Buck, T. M., Lacewell, A. N., & Romero, S. A. (2013) Postexercise hypotension and sustained postexercise vasodilation: What happens after we exercise? Experimental Physiology, 98(1), 7-18. doi: 10.1113/expphysiol.2011.057065