The Effects of Stepping Exercise on Blood Pressure, Physical Performance, and Quality of Life in Female Older Adults with Stage 1 Hypertension: a Randomized Controlled Trial
Keywords:physical performance, aging, hypertension, female
Hypertension is a common disease, particularly in older adults. In a previous study, we found that an eight-week course of stepping exercise improved physical performance in healthy older adults as measured using the six-minute walk test (468 vs. 426 m in controls; p = .01). This study aims to further evaluate the effects of stepping exercise on blood pressure, physical performance, and quality of life in older adults with stage 1 hypertension.
This was a randomized, controlled trial comparing older adults with stage 1 hypertension who performed stepping exercise with controls. The stepping exercise (SE) was performed at moderate intensity three times/week over an eight-week period. Participants in the control group (CG) received verbal and written (pamphlet) lifestyle modification advice. Blood pressure at Week 8 was the primary outcome, while quality of life score and physical performance on the 6-minute walk test (6MWT), timed up and go test (TUGT), and five times sit to stand test (FTSST) were secondary outcomes.
There were 17 female patients in each group (total of 34). After eight weeks of training, participants in the SE group showed significant improvements in systolic blood pressure (SBP; 132.0 vs. 145.1 mmHg; p<.01), diastolic blood pressure (DBP; 67.3 vs. 87.6 mmHg; p<.01), 6MWT (465.6 vs. 437.0; p<.01), TUGT (8.1 vs. 9.2 sec; p<.01), and FTSST (7.9 vs. 9.1 sec; p<.01) compared to controls. Regarding within-group comparison, participants in the SE also showed significant improvement in all outcomes from baseline, while any such outcomes in the CG were comparable from baseline (SBP: 144.1 to 145.1 mmHg; p = .23; DBP: 84.3 to 87.6 mmHg; p = .90).
The stepping exercise examined is an effective non-pharmacological intervention for blood pressure control in female older adults with stage 1 hypertension. This exercise also resulted in improvements in physical performance and quality of life.
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