Prehypertension? Get Walking!Those who participated in the study had prehypertension -- elevated blood pressure that often progresses to high blood pressure (hypertension). Uncontrolled high blood pressure increases your risk of heart attack, kidney failure, and stroke. Prehypertension can be treated with diet and exercise.
The study involved 15 men and 5 women with prehypertension. One day, they were assigned to walk for 40 continuous minutes on a treadmill. On another day, they walked 4 times for 10 minutes over the course of 3.5 hours. Their systolic blood pressure dropped 5.4 to 5.6 mm Hg, a reduction significant enough to reduce their risk of stroke and heart disease.
Fit in Brisk, 10-Minute WalksMany people say they don't have time for a 30 to 60-minute continuous workout during the day. But most people can fit in shorter walks on their way to and from work or school, and during breaks and lunches. (Perhaps "4 a Day" for short, 10-minute walks needs to be a health promotion.)
Get the Most From a 15-Minute Walk
Are Longer Walks Better or Not?The study found that either one long or several short walks throughout the day have benefit. This result was surprising to the researchers, who noted that other studies found that longer exercise sessions have better health effects. The debate over whether total daily steps v. continuous exercise is better rages on. Still, it has only winners -- whether you get in the steps in several bouts throughout the day or in one big session, it's all good! Exercising alone can reduce your risk.
Park, Saejong a; Rink, Lawrence D b; Wallace, Janet P. Accumulation of physical activity leads to a greater blood pressure reduction than a single continuous session, in prehypertension. Journal of Hypertension. September 2006, 24:9.