Cardio Excercises for the Heart
If you dread regularly scheduled exercise but are attempting to stave off high blood pressure, Indiana University may have the solution to your workout woes.
Several shorter periods of physical activity treat prehypertension as well as a single uninterrupted episode, and the positive effects last longer, according to research conducted in 2006 by the university's School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation.
"You might think, 'I don't have the time to go to the gym or work out for 40 minutes, but I might have the time to do 10 minutes here, 10 minutes here and another 10 minutes here,'" said Janet Wallace, a professor in the IU Department of Kinesiology. "Four 10-minute walks would be ideal."
Without intervention (changes in diet and exercise), prehypertension -- elevated blood pressure not high enough to qualify as hypertension -- typically advances to hypertension. When uncontrolled, high blood pressure can increase a person's chance of serious health consequences, including heart attack and stroke.
Wallace's study compared the benefits of taking one 40-minute walk with those of taking four brisk 10-minute walks in a three-hour period. The research found both types of walkers had the same improvement in blood pressure.
However, the reduction in blood pressure lasted about 11 hours in people taking four shorter walks -- about four hours longer than in those walking for 40 minutes.