Scientists from the University at Buffalo found that women who walk 30 minutes a day may have a much lower risk of developing high blood pressure.
Further, women who don’t walk 30 minutes—the federal physical activity guideline of moderate activity—but do walk at 2 MPH (a 30-minute mile) or faster, still have a reduced risk of hypertension.
The research is published in Hypertension.
Another study of more than 80,000 postmenopausal women aged 50 to 79 reports that more time spent in sedentary behavior while awake, such as sitting or lying on the couch, is associated with a higher risk of heart failure hospitalization.
The findings are published in Circulation: Heart Failure.
Taken together, the two studies send a powerful message “Sit less, walk more for heart health.”
In the first study, the team found that brisk walking—identified as a 30-minute mile—for 150 minutes or more per week is associated with lower risk of hypertension in older women.
Few studies have evaluated hypertension in relation to walking, a common physical activity among adults.
The team examined the association between walking and hypertension incidence in 83,435 postmenopausal women between the ages of 50 and 79 who had no known hypertension, heart failure, coronary heart disease, or stroke, and reported the ability to walk at least one block without assistance.
During a mean 11-year follow-up, researchers identified 38,230 hypertension cases. They found much lower hypertension risks of 11% and 21% in women reporting the highest walking volume and speed.
Walking speed remained strongly associated with lower hypertension risk after adjusting for walking duration, suggesting that walking faster might have greater blood pressure benefits over volume or duration.
In the second study, the team during an average of nine years of follow-up, found 1,402 women were hospitalized due to heart failure.
Compared with women who reported spending less than 6.5 hours per day sitting or lying down, the risk of heart failure hospitalization was: 15% higher in women reporting 6.6-9.5 hours daily spent sitting or lying down; 42% higher in women reporting more than 9.5 hours daily spent sitting or lying down.
Compared with women who reported sitting less than 4.5 hours a day, the risk of heart failure hospitalization was: 14% higher in women who sat between 4.6 and 8.5 hours each day; 54% higher in women who sat more than 8.5 hours a day.
The team says even among women who reported recreational physical activity levels that meet current guidelines, heart failure risk was elevated in the women who also reported more than 9.5 hours per day in sedentary activity.
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