FRIDAY, March 9, 2007 (HealthDay News) -- Exercising in your teens and 20s could help keep high blood pressure at bay over the longer term, a new study finds.

"This is reassuring and confirming evidence that physical activity is actually causally related to hypertension," study lead author David Jacobs Jr., an epidemiologist at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, said in a prepared statement.

His team analyzed data from a study that tracked almost 4,000 women and men, ages 18 to 30, for 15 years.

Overall, 634 of the participants developed high blood pressure during those 15 years.

Those who exercised an average of five times a week and burned 300 calories per exercise session were 17 percent less likely to develop hypertension than those who were less active, the study found.

It also found that people who increased their amount of exercise during the study decreased their risk of hypertension by 11 percent for every 1,500 calories they burned through weekly exercise.

The findings are in the April issue of the American Journal of Public Health.

This study results offer "one more reason to follow existing recommendations to increase physical activity -- not only for healthy weight and overall cardio health, but to prevent the incidence of high blood pressure as we go from young adulthood to middle age," Michael Zemel, professor of nutrition and medicine at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, said in a prepared statement.

More information

The American Heart Association offers tips on how to reduce your risk of high blood pressure.

Robert Preidt and Consumer news

Updated on June 12, 2022

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