Moderate exercise reduces death risk in elderly men with high blood pressure

13 May 2014        

Gentle exercise

Elderly men with high blood pressure can significantly reduce their risk of death by up to half even with moderate exercise according to new research.

The study saw 2,153 men aged 70 and over with high blood pressure undertake a standard treadmill exercise test with follow ups over an average of nine years.

The participants were split into four categories of fitness from very low to high by measuring energy expended – also known as their metabolic equivalents (METs). Researchers found the risk of death fell by 11 per cent for every MET unit increased through doing more exercise.

The least fit members of the high fitness group, exercising at 8 METs, reduced their risk of death by up to 48 per cent. For those in the low fitness category, who exercised between 4.1 and 6 METs, it fell by 18 per cent. 

It confirms the importance of physical activity to our quality of life however old we are


Maureen Talbot, our Senior Cardiac Nurse, said: “Although this is a study of older men with high blood pressure, it confirms the importance of physical activity to our quality of life however old we are.

“There’s lots of ways of building exercise into our everyday lives. A daily walk provides a sense of wellbeing as well as exercising the heart muscle and lowering blood pressure. If you have high blood pressure and are worried about whether you can exercise, have a chat with your GP.”