Lifestyle changes including exercise have been shown to lower blood pressure. However, many people have wondered if an easier exercise liking walking can be effective. Therefore to answer the question, will walking lower blood pressure?
Walking lowers blood pressure in many scientific studies. In one study people with high blood pressure, >160 systolic mmHg, lowered blood pressure from 164.7/88.4 to 143.3/81.1 after performing guided walking for a period of six months.
This blog post will explain in more detail how participants used walking to lower blood pressure in various scientific studies. In addition, I’ll inform you why it’s effective and how much walking is recommended by the American Heart Association.
BP Tip: Lower BP naturally by changing how you breathe? There’s a device approved by the FDA and The American Heart Association. It simply guides your breathing for you a few minutes a day which has been proven to lower blood pressure. You can check it out in the manufacturer’s website by clicking here.
Disclaimer: It’s best to check with your doctor before starting any exercise program. Some links in this article may be affiliate links. This means at no extra cost to you, I may earn a small commission. As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Will Walking Lower Blood Pressure?
Many studies have shown how walking have lowered blood pressure for people who do it consistently 1. The following are some blood pressure studies showing how much people were able to lower blood pressure by walking.
In addition, I did my own study which you may or may not be surprised didn’t lower my BP. I’ll explain why.
Walking and Blood Pressure Study #1
The first study separated people into five different groups based on their levels of systolic blood pressure. Every group shown below had high blood pressure prior to starting the walking program. The following is a list of each group and their level of systolic BP:
|Group Number||Systolic BP|
|Group #1||>160 mmHg|
|Group #2||150-159 mmHg|
|Group #3||140-149 mmHg|
|Group #4||130-139 mmHg|
|Group #5||120-129 mmHg|
The table below shows each groups blood pressure before a six month walking program and after. Each group lowered blood pressure, but the walking lowered it more for people with the highest blood pressure at the beginning.
|Group||BP at Start||BP at 6 Months|
|#1||164.7/88.4 mmHg||143.3/81.1 mmHg|
|#2||152.1/81.9 mmHg||140.3/79.0 mmHg|
|#3||141.9/78.5 mmHg||134.4/76.6 mmHg|
|#4||131.9/76.7 mmHg||126.6/74.5 mmHg|
|#5||122.7/75.1 mmHg||120.1/72.7 mmHg|
Each walking group began with a minimum of 15 to 30 minutes of daily walking. They walked twice a day from Monday through Friday and once on Saturday morning. The groups increased their walking time to 300 minutes per week (42.8 per day) by the second month and maintained it for the last four months.
At the start the groups were either assigned to walking speeds of slow (up to 2.4 mph), medium (2.4 to 3.11 mph) and fast (above 3.11 mph). The walking speeds were increased but not forced as the six weeks passed 2.
Walking Tip: To save time they sell treadmill desks. They are slim, compact and made to fit under a desk or used traditionally. This way you can walk and work or browse on the computer at the same time. They fold and stand up in the corner or closet. Check them out on Amazon by clicking here, treadmill desks.
Walking and Blood Pressure Study #2
This interesting study involved 67 overweight people aged between 55 and 80. Each person completed three different walking plans. Each plan was conducted in one day with a minimum of six days between each plan. The following are the three plans:
- Plan 1: Sat down uninterrupted for 8 hours.
- Plan 2: Sat down for 1 hour, followed by 30 minutes of walking on a treadmill at moderate intensity, followed by 6.5 hours of sitting down.
- Plan 3: Sat down for 1 hour, followed by 30 minutes of treadmill walking, followed by 6.5 hours of sitting. The 6.5 sitting hours was interrupted every 30 minutes with 3 minutes of treadmill walking at light intensity.
After following plan #2, blood pressure lowered 3.4/0.8 mmHg. Plan #3 resulted in a larger reduction of blood pressure which was 5.1/1.1 mmHg. The additional walking lowered blood pressure more 3.
In addition to the treadmill desks mentioned earlier, a standard treadmill can help accomplish your walking goals without leaving the house or when it’s impossible. Check out these affordable treadmills on Amazon, treadmills.
Walking and Blood Pressure Study # 3
Eighty-three people participated in the study. All of the people were males and were divided into three groups:
- Group #1: 32 people with high blood pressure greater than 140/90 mmHg. They walked approximately 10,000 steps or more per day for 12 weeks.
- Group #2: 34 people without high blood pressure. They walked approximately 10,000 steps or more per day for 12 weeks.
- Group #3: 17 people with high blood pressure who did not walk.
After 12 weeks, blood pressure for the people in groups #2 and #3 did not change. For the people in group #1 (high blood pressure and walked) blood pressure lowered from 149.3/98.5 to 139.1/90.1 4.
Walking and Blood Pressure Study #4
This study involved 24 women who were borderline high blood pressure and already experienced menopause. Their blood pressure was checked at the start of the study, 12 weeks and 24 weeks.
Fifteen of the women increased their daily walking activity and the remaining nine kept it the same.
The nine women who kept their walking activity the same did not experience any change in their BP. The fifteen who increased their walking lowered systolic blood pressure by 6 mmHg after week 12. After week 24, their systolic lowered an additional 5 mmHg for a total of 11 mmHg.
Blood Pressure Explained Study #5
I decided to do my own experiment. For one week I took my blood pressure in the morning before breakfast or coffee. I then went out for a brisk 30 minute walk and checked my blood pressure.
After a 30 minute walk my blood pressure remained the same. This morning my blood pressure started at 114/72 mmHg and after the walk it was 114/71 mmHg. My pulse rate elevated from 48 to 54 bpm. I experienced similar results in the prior six days.
My findings reflected the ones in the studies. I don’t have high blood pressure, and am not overweight. In addition, I exercise regularly. In study #3, group #2 didn’t have high blood pressure and it didn’t lower after walking.
The other group and the people in the other studies either were overweight or had high blood pressure. This shows walking is highly effective for those people, but not as much if the person is already seeing the benefits of exercise and diet prior to the study.
For those of you without high blood pressure and are not overweight, continue with an exercise program. You’re already seeing the benefits in your blood pressure which you don’t want to disappear.
Walking is one of the 35 ways to lower blood pressure in my article, How To Lower Blood Pressure. Check it out and learn more about the other methods including one which lowered systolic 17 mmHG naturally!
Why Walking Lowers Blood Pressure
It great to know if you have high blood pressure it can be lowered with walking 5. It’s a tremendous relief to have answers to a problem. Taking action an implementing a plan can do wonders for your overall health. While this is great, you may be wondering, why does walking lower blood pressure?
Walking lowers blood pressure for the following 4 reasons:
- Regular physical activity strengthens the heart.
- Walking helps manage obesity.
- Exercise lowers stress levels which constricts blood vessels.
- Walking can increase endorphins which helps open blood vessels.
- Brisk walking can reduce blood vessel stiffness and increase blood flow.
It’s nice to know walking can have immediate and long-term effects on blood pressure 2.
Walking is just one exercise to lower blood pressure. I recently wrote a blog post you may want to check out, 11 Easy Exercises To Lower Blood Pressure. One of these reduced BP by 10% while sitting down.
How Much Walking Is Recommended To Lower Blood Pressure
It’s best to have a plan when performing any lifestyle change. Eager to start today you may be wondering, how much walking to lower blood pressure?
Walking at least 150 minutes per week to lower blood pressure is recommended by the American Heart Association. The walking should be a moderate intensity. The 150 minutes should be spread out throughout the week on at least five days a week.
In addition to the American Heart Association 6, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity per week.
Dynamic resistance, like weightlifting, isometric resistance and stretching are also recommended 7. Sometimes people cannot exercise for 30 minutes straight. The walking or activity chosen may be broken up into shorter bursts of time 8.
Walking Tip: A fitness tracker watch is a great way to monitor how many steps, distance, speed and more, all displayed on the screen. Track it all 24/7. Fitbid is a reliable, good quality brand. The Charge 4 is my favorite but check them all out on Amazon here, Fitbid Fitness Trackers.
How long does it take for walking to lower blood pressure? 30 minutes of walking has been shown to lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure in studies. The people who lowered blood pressure after walking have high blood pressure and/or overweight.
Read Next – More Articles On How To Lower Blood Pressure!
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- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Evidence for exercise training in the management of hypertension in adults
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Walking and hypertension: greater reductions in subjects with higher baseline systolic blood pressure following six months of guided walking
- Hypertension: Effect of Morning Exercise With or Without Breaks In Prolonged Sitting on Blood Pressure in Older Overweight/Obese Adults
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Walking 10,000 steps/day or more reduces blood pressure and sympathetic nerve activity in mild essential hypertension
- Harvard Health: Exercising to relax
- The American Heart Association: Getting Active to Control High Blood Pressure
- American College of Sports Medicine: Exercise for the Prevention and Treatment of Hypertension – Implications and Application
- The American Heart Association: American Heart Association Recommendations for Physical Activity in Adults and Kids