The influence of physical activity on the variability of ambulatory blood pressure

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The aim of this study was to assess the contribution of physical activity levels to blood pressure (BP) variability, and to assess the effect age, gender, body mass index, and use of antihypertensive medications on this relationship. We simultaneously monitored 24-h ambulatory BP by automated recorder and activity by actigraphy in 431 patients. Mean activity scores for the 5, 10, 15, and 20 min preceding each BP measurement were calculated, and BP and heart rate were related to these variables using linear mixed model regression. Various patient characteristics were added to the mixed model as covariates. Patients were heterogeneous in age (48 ± 13 years), sex (49% men), and average 24-h BP (132/81 ± 15/10 mm Hg). Mean daytime activity level was 44 ± 15 U. During the daytime, systolic BP (r = 0.33), diastolic BP (r = 0.29), and heart rate (r = 0.42) correlated best with the average activity for the 15 min preceding each measurement (P < .001). Variance was very high, with activity explaining from 0% to 62% of BP variability for different individuals. Men and the obese had a greater reactivity of systolic BP to activity; older patients and those on antihypertensive therapy had a lower reactivity of heart rate. Blood pressure level is significantly associated with physical activity, but the percentage of variance of BP explained by physical activity varies greatly between individuals. Correlation is strongest between BP and average activity integrated over the previous 15 min. Much of the variance in blood pressure remains unexplained. (C) 2000 American Journal of Hypertension, Ltd.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1067-1073
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Hypertension
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2000


  • Actigraphy
  • Ambulatory monitoring
  • Blood pressure
  • Blood pressure variability
  • Physical activity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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