High Blood Pressure? Don’t Skip Strength Training


By Anthony Roberts

If you’ve got high blood pressure, you’d better make sure you’re doing enough strength training. In a study examining 1506 hypertensive men over an average of 18.3 years, it was found that those with the highest bench press + leg press had the lowest mortality rate and risk of death. When cardiorespiratory fitness was further added into the calculations, those who found to be in the upper third of both factors were found to be at even less risk of death than those who were in the upper third of either factor alone (i.e. strength or cardio ability).

So make sure you’re getting in your strength training, but don’t neglect the cardio either – especially if you’re hypertensive.

J Am Coll Cardiol. 2011 May 3;57(18):1831-7.

A prospective study of muscular strength and all-cause mortality in men with hypertension.

Artero EG, Lee DC, Ruiz JR, Sui X, Ortega FB, Church TS, Lavie CJ, Castillo MJ, Blair SN. Source Department of Medical Physiology, School of Medicine, University of Granada, Granada, Spain. artero@ugr.es


OBJECTIVES: This study sought to assess the impact of muscular strength on mortality in men with hypertension.

BACKGROUND: Muscular strength is inversely associated with mortality in healthy men, but this association has not been examined in men with hypertension.

METHODS: We followed 1,506 hypertensive men age 40 years and older enrolled in the Aerobics Center Longitudinal Study from 1980 to 2003. Participants received an extensive medical examination at baseline. Muscular strength was quantified by combining 1 repetition maximum (1-RM) measures for leg and bench press and cardiorespiratory fitness assessed by maximum exercise test on a treadmill.

RESULTS: During an average follow-up of 18.3 years, 183 deaths occurred. Age-adjusted death rates per 10,000 person-years across incremental thirds of muscular strength were 81.8, 65.5, and 52.0 (p < 0.05 for linear trend). Multivariable Cox regression hazard ratios were 1.0 (reference), 0.81 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.57 to 1.14), and 0.59 (95% CI: 0.40 to 0.86) across incremental thirds of muscular strength. After further adjustment for cardiorespiratory fitness, those participants in the upper third of muscular strength still had a lower risk of death (hazard ratio [HR]: 0.66; 95% CI: 0.45 to 0.98). In the muscular strength and CRF combined analysis, men simultaneously in the upper third of muscular strength and high fitness group had the lowest mortality risk among all combination groups (HR: 0.49; 95% CI: 0.30 to 0.82), with men in the lower third of muscular strength and low fitness group as reference.

CONCLUSIONS: High levels of muscular strength appear to protect hypertensive men against all-cause mortality, and this is in addition to the benefit provided by cardiorespiratory fitness. Copyright © 2011 American College of Cardiology Foundation. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.





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