The impact of moderate aerobic physical training on left ventricular mass, exercise capacity and blood pressure response during treadmill testing in borderline and mildly hypertensive males
We sought to investigate the effect of moderate physical exercise on left ventricular mass, exercise tolerance and blood pressure response during treadmill testing, in middle-aged pre-hypertensive and mildly hypertensive men without any evidence of coronary heart disease.Forty of 52 male borderline and mildly hypertensive subjects (mean age 53 ± 7 years old) with a normal treadmill exercise test and echocardiographic evaluation were randomly assigned to an exercise rehabilitation programme. Patients in the exercise group participated in an aerobic exercise program for 16 weeks, three times per week, at 60 to 80 percent of the maximum heart rate achieved during the preceding exercise test.At baseline no statistically significant differences between the two groups were observed in METS, in left ventricular mass index, or in blood pressure measurements at rest and during treadmill testing. Sixteen weeks later the exercise group showed higher values of METS compared to the control group (p<0.001), while changes in METS from baseline to 16 weeks' follow up differed significantly between the two groups (p<0.001 for group-time interaction). Additionally, 16 weeks after randomisation, systolic/diastolic blood pressure and heart rate were significantly lower in the exercise group compared to the control group at all stages of stress testing. Finally, the left ventricular mass index decreased significantly in the exercise group (118.80 ± 3.89 to 96.10 ± 8.95 kg/m) during the 16 weeks of intervention.This study revealed the beneficial effect of regular exercise training on left ventricular mass index, exercise capacity and systolic/diastolic blood pressure levels in borderline hypertensive patients.