Higher blood pressure during exercise and delayed blood pressure recovery after exercise are associated with a higher risk of hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and death among middle-aged to older adults, warn researchers.

Blood pressure responses to exercise are significant markers of cardiovascular disease and mortality risk in young to middle-aged adults, the study, published in Journal of the American Heart Association, said.

"The way our blood pressure changes during and after exercise provides important information on whether we will develop the disease in the future," said study researcher Vanessa Xanthakis from Boston University in the US. "This research may help investigators evaluate whether this information can be used to better identify people who are at higher risk of developing hypertension and CVD, or dying later in life," Xanthakis added.

Few studies have examined the associations of midlife blood pressure responses to submaximal (less than the maximum of which an individual is capable) exercise with the risk of cardiovascular outcomes and mortality in later life.

The Process

Exercise
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For the current results, the research team evaluated the association of blood pressure changes and recovery with indicators of preclinical disease among participants from the Framingham Heart Study (average age 58 years, 53 percent women).

They then followed these participants to assess whether these blood pressure changes were associated with the risk of developing hypertension, cardiovascular disease, or death.

Get To Know Your BP Numbers

They observed that both higher exercise systolic blood pressure (SBP) and exercise diastolic blood pressure (DBP) were associated with a greater risk of developing hypertension. Additionally, both delayed SBP and DBP recovery after exercise was associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease and death.

The researchers recommend that people know their blood pressure numbers, speak to their physician regarding changes during and after exercise, and follow a healthy lifestyle to help lower risk of disease later in life.