Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Pedometer Might Just Help Lower Your Blood Pressure!

When we grow older, many medical disorders may just approach you whether we want them or not. High blood pressure is just one of them. Once it is developed, we might require medication to reduce the blood pressure. If we do not manage hypertension appropriately, it might just develop into other diseases like stroke and heart disease.

A paper, published by Stanford University in California on November 20, 2007 in the Journal of the American Medical Association, reported that people who use a pedometer to measure how far they walk lose more weight, exercise more and have lower blood pressure than those who do not.

The study was the first to review most previously published research on pedometer use. It is not clear that whether those who use the devices are more motivated or just benefit from the use of the device, or both. Many pedometer-related programs recommend users to set daily goals for themselves. A commonly goal suggested is 10,000 steps or about 8 km.

Researchers actually reviewed 26 earlier studies covering 2,767 people, with an average age of 49. What they found was that users who used pedometer took more than 2,000 extra steps a day, comparing with those who did not use the devices. They also found that having a goal of reaching a certain number of steps was a significant factor.

People who wore the devices on the hip also lost weight as measured by BMI (body mass index) and their systolic blood pressure was significantly reduced. Systolic blood pressure is the top number in the blood pressure readings that indicates maximum pressure of a contracting heart.

As indicated in the report, the use of these small inexpensive pedometers could significantly increase people’s physical activity and help improve some key health outcomes over the short term. However, whether these results are durable over the long term remains unknown. This may suggest it is necessary to carry out long-term study in order to have a better picture on how this may benefit.

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