New research shows that regular swimming exercise can improve vascular health and lower blood pressure.
A research team led by Dr. Nantinee Nualnim of the University of
Texas, Austin’s Cardiovascular Aging Research Laboratory
looked at 43 adults over age 50 with either prehypertension, or
stage 1 hypertension but not on any medication. The participants
were randomly assigned to either perform 12 weeks of swimming
exercises or 12 weeks of relaxation exercises.
Following the intervention, the casual systolic blood pressure of
the swimmers decreased from 131 ± 3 to 122 ± 4 mm Hg.
Other measures of vascular health also improved. Swimmers showed a
21 percent increase in carotid artery compliance (the ability for
the artery to contract). There were no changes in the other
“This is another piece of good news about the positive role
that aquatic activity and exercise plays in promoting human
health,” said Dr. Bruce Becker, director of Aquatic Health
Benefit Research at the National Swimming Pool Foundation.
Becker, also a clinical professor in the Department of
Rehabilitation Medicine at the University of Washington School of
Medicine, and an adjunct research professor at Washington State
University, was not affiliated with the research.