PEAK TESTOSTERONE

Walking and Your Blood Pressure

Just walk.  Those two words can save your life.  They can also save your sex life, as I discuss in my link on Walking and Erectile Dysfunction. On this page I want to go into the study results that show how walking and walking alone can lower blood pressure and protect you from hypertension. In fact, I will show you that, particularly if you have high blood pressure or are a senior with normal blood pressure, walking is likely to lower that mercury as much as any medication.  (Of course, talk to your doctor if applicable.)

Of course, physicians do not usually mention the power of a simple, natural solutions such as walking to help with hypertension, so this is why I mention it here.  High blood pressure is a huge risk factor for erectile dysfunction, stroke and cardiovascular disease, so it is something to take very seriously.  Get that blood pressure below 120/80 and never give up.  It can take some effort and work, but I believe most men can do it naturally without pharmaceuticals as long as they are willing to put in the effort and time to see what works.  And walking can be a huge part of that plan as I will show below.

NOTE:  I have other great ideas to lower your blood pressure in these pages on Erectile Dysfunction and High Blood Presure and How I Lowered My Blood Pressure.

Here are some of the key studies that should encourage you to start walking and drop your blood pressure:

1.  10,000 Steps.  Some of you may have heard of the 10,000 Steps Program.  It's a great concept where you basically strap on a pedometer and try to reach 10,000 steps from waking to sleeping.  (Pedometers can be tactully hidden under your shirt.) I know that when I walk a mile, I take about 1,850 steps and you are probably roughly the same.  This may make 10,000 steps may seem like a lot, but it's really not.  The reason I say that is that the pedometer will record not just when you walk on a treadmill or in a park but also when you do yardwork or play with the kids.  10,000 steps comes more quickly than you might think in the course of a normal day and is a great measure of total physical activity.

For men who despise going to a gym and standard exercise routines (or perhaps don't feel that they have the time), the 10,000 Step Program can be a godsend.  And, most importantly, it has outstanding health outcomes.  After all, we humans were born to walk.  Our bodies were built for it and our ancestors did countless steps every day as part of their normal living.  This is shown in the stellar results of 10,000 steps on high blood pressure.  One study found that in middle-aged and senior adults with hypertension, this program lowered their blood pressure by 10 points from an average of 149.3 to 139.1! [1] This is as powerful as standard medications and will help you in a handred other ways as well.

2.  13-Point Drop in Middle-Aged Males.  One study looked at the effect of walking on newly diagnosed (with hypertension) African-American males.  Although the study design made it impossible to come to any direct conclusions [3], the results were impressive to say the least.  Average measurements dropped from 147.7 to 134.4 and 95.7 to 88.6 for systolic and diastolic blood pressures, respectively.  And this is even more remarkable when you consider that the only real difference from the control group was that the intervention group was encouraged to walk an extra 30 minutes beyond their normal daily activity.  Again, researchers noted that results were as good as the typical pharmaceutical solution.

NOTE:  These big drops in blood pressure mean more blood flow and more nitric oxide.  And increases in blood flow and nitric oxide mean better erections.  Walking also avoid overtraining syndrome.  This is a big problem with guys - they overtrain and actually make their hormones and health worse in many cases.

3.  Protection from High Blood Pressure.  The power of walking was also shown in a recent study where researchers put participants in a walking group and a running group of equal energy expenditure.  In other words, they made the walkers walk longer to match the calories burned of an equivalent runner.  The authors concluded that "equivalent energy expenditures by moderate (walking) and vigorous (running) exercise produced similar risk reductions for hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, diabetes mellitus, and possibly CHD." [2] In reality, the walking actually produced greater risk reductions in every category, but apparently not with statistical significance.  For example, running reduced the risk of developing hypertension by 4.2% but walking reduced it by 7.2%.

4.  Drop in Blood Pressure Independent of Weight Loss.  Researchers have noted that blood pressure reductions occur even if the participans do not lose weight. [4] Furthermore, they noted that this effect has been verified in many studies.

5.  Meta-analysis of Many Studies.  Results in this meta-analysis were not as dramatic - 3 and 2 mm decreases for systolic and diastolic - but this undoubtedly included normotensives, i.e those with normal blood pressure. [5] Obviously, walking lowers blood pressure much less dramatically (if at all) in healthy individuals with no blood pressure issues. 

6.  Normotensive Elderly.  One study looked at seniors with normal blood pressure and found that 45 minutes of walking at 70% of Heart Rate Reserve, a measure of exercise intensity,  or 35 minutes at 85% of HRR yielded impressive drops in blood pressure:  8-9 mm in systolic and 4-8 in diastolic. [6] Again, these are in those with blood pressure lower than the standard 120/80.

REFERENCES:

1)  Hypertension Research : Official Journal of the Japanese Society of Hypertension, 2000, 23(6):573-580, "Walking 10,000 steps/day or more reduces blood pressure and sympathetic nerve activity in mild essential hypertension."

2) Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology. 2013; 33:1085-1091, "Walking Versus Running for Hypertension, Cholesterol, and Diabetes Mellitus Risk Reduction"

3) http://mx1.ishib.org/journal/17-2s4/ethn-17-03-503.pdf, Ethnicity & Disease, Summer 2007, 17, IMPACT OF EXERCISE (WALKING) ON BLOOD PRESSURE LEVELS IN AFRICAN AMERICAN ADULTS WITH NEWLY DIAGNOSED HYPERTENSION

4) Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, "Increased Daily Walking Lowers Blood Pressure in Postmenopausal Women"

5) Preventive Medicine, Aug 2001, 33(2):120-127, "Walking and resting blood pressure in adults: A Meta-analysis"

6) The American Journal of Cardiology, Jun 1 1994, 73(15):1124-1128, "Moderate- and high-intensity exercise lowers blood pressure in normotensive subjects 60 to 79 years of age"