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A Journal on Sports Medicine

Official Journal of the Italian Sports Medicine Federation
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Medicina dello Sport 2008 December;61(4):455-65


language: English, Italian

Physical exercise for blood pressure management: are intensity and length the only parameters to consider?

Ripari P. 1, 2, Di Blasio A. 1, Civino P. 2, Sablone A. 1, Gallina S. 1

1 Sports Medicine Section, Department of Human Motor Sciences Faculty of Motor Science Education, University of Chieti-Pescara, Chieti, Italy 2 School of Sports Medicine, University of Chieti-Pescara, Chieti, Italy


Aim. The aim of the study was to determine whether five different cardiofitness machines have the same effect on blood pressure and/or cardiac response at exercise matched for length and relative intensity.
Methods. Thirty-five normotensive healthy sedentary men (mean age 25.13±2.39) worked out on each machine in a 80-min session divided into 10 min warm up at 45% of heart rate reserve (HRR), 35 min at 55-60% of HRR, 5 min cool-down at 45% of HRR and 30 min resting recovery in standardized room. Heart rate and electrocardiogram were monitored and recorded during each part of the experiment. Blood pressure was measured at baseline, then after 10, 25, 40 and 50 min of exercise, and then at 5, 10, 15 and 30 min during 30 min of sitting rest. Ratings of perceived exertion (RPE) using the Borg Scale were scored at baseline, and after 10, 20, 25, 30, 40 and 50 min of exercise. Exercises were performed on: treadmill runner, cross trainer, recumbent bike, bike and power arm.
Results. The power arm elicited the worst diastolic response during both exercise and recovery; cross trainer the best. RPE was higher at exercise on the power arm than on the other equipment. No differences were found in systolic response and electrocardiograms.
Conclusion. Specific stress testing before starting an exercise program is recommended. The elevated diastolic blood pressure response to exercising with an arm ergometer, may increase the cardiovascular risk in hypertensive subjects.

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