13 May 2014

Fitness helps hypertensive seniors live longer

Older males with high blood pressure who have high fitness levels have a fifty percent lower death rate than those who are unfit.


Getting more fit might reduce the risk of death for elderly men with high blood pressure, a new study suggests.

Compared to the least-fit men, those who had the highest levels of fitness had nearly half the risk of death. For men in the low-fitness category, the risk of dying was 18% lower. And, men in the moderate-fitness category had a 36% lower death risk, according to the study.

A moderate "level of fitness is achievable by most elderly individuals engaging in a brisk walk of 20 to 40 minutes, most days of the week," lead author Dr Charles Faselis, a professor of medicine at George Washington University in Washington, DC, said in a news release from the journal Hypertension.

Read: Is high blood pressure bad?

Death rate cut in half

Researchers used a standard treadmill test to assess the fitness of more than 2 100 men, 70 and older, with high blood pressure. They were classified as being least-fit, low-fit, moderately-fit or high-fit. The men were followed for an average of nine years.

"For every 100 people who died in the least-fit category, 82 died in the low-fit category, 64 died in the moderate-fit and 52 died from the high-fit category," senior author Peter Kokkinos, a professor at Veterans Affairs Medical Centre, Georgetown University School of Medicine and George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, said in the news release.

"The death rate is cut in half for those in the highest fitness category," he noted.

Read more:

Being fit lowers high blood pressure
People who are unfit are at risk of developing high blood pressure

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