HealthDay News — Aerobic exercise leading to strong cardiorespiratory fitness can delay the onset of age-related hypertension in men, according to researchers.

“Although the trajectory of blood pressure (BP) with aging is well known, there is a lack of data on how cardiorespiratory fitness affects age-associated changes in BP,” explained Xuemei Sui, MD, MPH, PhD, of the University of South Carolina, and colleagues in Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

To identify how fitness altered the aging-hypertension trajectory, the investigators used heart health data from nearly 14,000 male patients studied between 1970 and 2006. Researchers tracked all patients’ blood pressure and kept tabs on their fitness using a strenuous treadmill exercise test.

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Systolic blood pressure (SBP) increased to pre-hypertension levels beginning around age 46 years, the scientists found. Men with high fitness, however, didn’t reach those same SBP warning levels of until approximately age 54 years.

Fitness also benefited diastolic blood pressure (DBP), noted the inspectors. A man with low fitness reached DBP warning levels at about age 42 years. Comparatively, male patients who reported high levels of fitness won’t reach those same high levels of DBP until around age 90 years.

“Improving fitness levels might extend the normal SBP and DBP ranges, delaying the development of hypertension,” concluded the study authors.


  1. Sui X et al. Journal of the American College of Cardiology. 2014; doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2014.06.1184