Acute affects [i.e. effects] of a walking workstation on ambulatory blood pressure in prehypertensive adults
INTRODUCTION: Exercise performed at moderate to vigorous intensities has been shown to generate a post exercise hypotensive response. Whether this response is observed with very low exercise intensities is unclear. PURPOSE: To compare post physical activity ambulatory blood pressure (ABP) response to a single worksite walking day and a normal sedentary work day in pre-hypertensive adults. METHODS: Participants were 7 pre-hypertensive (127 + 8 mmHg / 83 + 8 mmHg) adults (3 male, 4 female, age = 42 + 12 yr) who participated in a randomized, cross-over study that included a control and a walking treatment. Only those who indicated regularly sitting at least 8 hours/day and no structured physical activity were enrolled. Treatment days were randomly assigned and were performed one week apart. Walking treatment consisted of periodically increasing walk time up to 2.5 hours over the course of an 8 hour work day on a walking workstation (Steelcase Company, Grand Rapids, MI). Walk speed was set at 1 mph. Participants wore an ambulatory blood pressure cuff (Oscar 2, SunTech Medical, Morrisville, NC) for 24-hours on both treatment days. Participants maintained normal daily activities on the control day. ABP data collected from 9:00 am until 10:00 pm of the same day were included in statistical analyses. Linear mixed models were used to detect differences in systolic (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP) by treatment condition over the whole day and post workday for the time periods between 4 -10 pm when participants were no longer at work. RESULTS:BP was significantly lower in response to the walking treatment compared to the control day (Mean SBP 126 +7 mmHg vs.124 +7 mmHg, p=.043; DBP 80 + 3 mmHg vs. 77 + 3 mmHg, p = 0.001 respectively). Post workday (4:00 to 10:00 pm) SBP decreased 3 mmHg (p=.017) and DBP decreased 4 mmHg (p<.001) following walking. CONCLUSION: Even low intensity exercise such as walking on a walking workstation is effective for significantly reducing acute BP when compared to a normal work day.