SUNDAY, Sept. 11, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- Americans aiming to lower their blood pressure don't always need to hit the gym: According to a new study, cleaning the house, doing some yard work or washing the car may help do the trick.
These types of everyday, around-the-house activities have been shown to significantly lower blood pressure in people with hypertension and pre-hypertension, according to a study in the August issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.
In the study, 28 people ages 42 to 63 were asked to burn 150 calories during a 12-hour period working around their house. They wore devices to measure blood pressure, activity and intensity.
Researchers found that four hours of accumulated daily "lifestyle physical activity" cut blood pressure for an average of six to eight hours. In hypertensive individuals -- people with systolic blood pressure readings of 140 mm Hg or above -- this type of routine housework was linked to a decline in that number of nearly 13 mm Hg over eight hours, according to the study.
"The findings indicate that physical activity should be considered as an essential component in the management of blood pressure," said one of the researchers, Jaume Padilla, a doctoral student at Indiana University Bloomington.
The National Institutes of Health has more about high blood pressure.