Increasing daily steps by 3,000 can lower blood pressure in older adults, according to a study.
The study looks into how 3000 daily steps can help older adults regulate their blood pressure.
According to a new study, increasing exercise by 3,000 steps per day can significantly reduce high blood pressure in older people.
Pescatello worked in Duck-Chun Lee’s lab at Iowa State University with the paper’s primary author, Elizabeth Lefferts, and others.
The research was published in the journal Cardiovascular Development and Disease.
“We’ll all get high blood pressure if we live long enough, at least in this country,” Pescatello stated. “That’s how prevalent it is.”
Pescatello is a specialist in hypertension (high blood pressure) and exercise. Her previous research has shown that exercise can have a significant immediate and long-term impact on blood pressure reduction in hypertensive adults.
The purpose of this study was to see if older adults with hypertension could reap these benefits by increasing their daily walking, which is one of the simplest and most popular forms of physical activity for this population.
It’s simple, they don’t need any equipment, and they can do it almost anywhere at any time,” Lee explained.
The study included a group of sedentary older adults aged 68 to 78 who walked an average of 4,000 steps per day prior to the study.
Lee determined that 3,000 steps would be a reasonable goal after consulting existing studies. This would also put most participants at 7,000 daily steps, which is the recommendation of the American College of Sports Medicine.
“3,000 steps is large enough but not too challenging to achieve for health benefits,” Lee stated.
The study was carried out during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, so everything had to be done remotely.
The researchers provided participants with pedometers, blood pressure monitors, and step diaries in which they could record how much they walked each day.
After the intervention, participants’ systolic and diastolic blood pressures dropped by an average of seven and four points, respectively.
“It’s exciting that a simple lifestyle intervention can be just as effective as structured exercise and some medications,” Lefferts said.
The findings suggest that the 7,000-step regimen achieved by the study participants is comparable to the reductions seen with anti-hypertensive medications. Eight of the twenty-one participants were already taking blood pressure medication. Those who increased their daily activity still saw improvements in systolic blood pressure.
“In a previous study, we found that when exercise is combined with medication, exercise bolsters the effects of blood pressure medication alone,” Pescatello explained. “It simply demonstrates the value of exercise as an anti-hypertensive therapy.” It is not intended to negate the effects of medication, but it is part of the treatment arsenal.”
The researchers discovered that walking speed and continuous bouts of walking did not matter as much as simply increasing total steps.
“We saw that the volume of physical activity is what’s really important here, not the intensity,” Pescatello stated.
“Using the volume as a target, whatever fits in and whatever works convey health benefits.”