Muscle Strength Has No Effect on the Risk of High Blood Pressure

Hypertension (high blood pressure) is a serious disease in the United States, resulting in 277,000 deaths and costing $66 billion in medical costs per year. Regular participation in moderate-intensity physical activity and good-to-high levels of aerobic capacity reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and deaths from all causes. Higher levels of muscle strength also reduce the risk of premature death.

A study from the University of South Carolina that used data collected at the Cooper Clinic in Dallas showed that stronger people tended to have lower resting blood pressure. However, the relationship was not significant when controlling for aerobic capacity. Regular aerobic exercise helps reduce resting blood pressure, while strength training alone has no effect. (Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 42: 288-295)