Every time a study is published touting the incredible health benefits of exercise, I always wonder how it got to see the light of day…
And this latest study is no exception. Because if everyone were to hear about it—and more importantly, take its conclusions seriously — I can guarantee you the number of prescriptions filled would absolutely plummet.
And seeing as how blood pressure drugs are one of Big Pharma’s biggest cash cows, I’m a little shocked that they didn’t launch an all-out effort to keep this research quiet…
Exercise works as well as drugs
Exercise may lower blood pressure as effectively as drugs — and without any of the side effects. That was the takeaway of a recent analysis of nearly 40,000 hypertensive patients.
This study looked at the effects of endurance exercises, resistance training, and a combo of the two. Ultimately, all of them lowered blood pressure compared to controls. But combination training was more effective at lowering systolic numbers than resistance alone.
Similarly, all of the different classes of blood pressure drugs lowered systolic readings. But the noteworthy part here is that these results really weren’t all that different from the ones achieved with exercise.
Specifically, an analysis showed mean systolic reductions of 8.80 mmHg for drugs, and 4.84 mmHg for exercise. So ultimately, medication did deliver a greater drop in systolic blood pressure.
But get this: There was no significant difference between the two interventions when researchers looked only at patients who started the study with top numbers of 140 or higher.
In this group, exercise was just as effective as blood pressure drugs. And, well… that’s really saying something.
Consistency is the key
As you may recall, the most recent guidelines from the American College of Cardiology (ACC) and the American Heart Association (AHA) lowered the threshold for a formal hypertension diagnosis from 140/90 mmHg to 130/80 mmHg.
This means more people now have “high” blood pressure, thus more people are being prescribed blood pressure medicine. As a result, more people are suffering (possibly unnecessarily) from the side effects of these medications.
Needless to say, there’s a good chance that some of those patients would benefit from a prescription of exercise rather than medication.
And for the rest, this research suggests that regular workouts work just as well as meds at keeping their pressure down.
But while organizations like the AHA and ACC obviously stress the importance of exercise in managing high blood pressure, they just can’t bring themselves to recommend it as a solution by itself, despite all the research saying they should.
This clearly has everything to do with their bedfellows over at Big Pharma. And money is almost certainly behind it.
Because here’s the bottom line: The more you exercise — and the longer you consistently keep up the routine — the lower your blood pressure will get. And it doesn’t have to be grueling. Even just a half-hour walk every day can make a remarkable difference.
Just remember that exercise — like weight management — is one of those things that can’t just be done in occasional spurts. Going to the gym for a week once a month and then quitting just won’t work.
But if you make it a part of your routine you will get results. And the more consistent you are, the more of those orange prescription bottles you’ll eventually be able to toss.
Exercise and physical activity are key strategies in my Ultimate Heart-Protection Protocol. But this online learning tool also focuses on diet, lifestyle changes, and supplement recommendations to help you prevent and reverse America’s biggest killers — high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke. To learn more, or to sign up today, click here.
“Exercise Found to Rival Meds at Lowering Blood Pressure.” MedScape Medical News, 12/21/18. (medscape.com/viewarticle/906908)