Exercising regularly can help you lose weight, but did you know that it can also help lower your blood pressure? A new study published in the journal Menopause discovered that this was one more benefit obese women could gain from even just moderate exercise.

In the study, researchers recruited 404 obese women who did not exercise regularly and who had higher-than-normal blood pressure. They then randomly placed the women under four groups. One group had to exercise for around 2.5 hours per week—the length of time generally recommended for adults. A second group exercised for only half the normal time while another exercised for around 4 hours per week. The fourth group served as the control group and was told to just carry on as they always had.

While an elevated blood pressure is to be expected from physical exertion, a too-high spike during exercise may bring a risk of heart disease. "One of the things we saw was that even among women with pre-hypertension, a good portion had abnormally elevated exercise blood pressure," said lead researcher Damon L. Swift.

To find out whether regular exercise really does help decrease blood pressure, researchers returned to interview their subjects after six months. They then learned that all three groups who had been assigned exercise regimens showed improvements in their blood pressure level. In fact, the difference between the group that exercised the most and the group that exercised the least wasn’t too big.

This shows that you don't need to spend a lot of time at the gym to reap the benefits of exercise. Simple exercises such as taking your dog out for a walk or climbing the stairs regularly can already make a difference on your health.

For exercise ideas, check out these articles:

(Photo by www.metaphoricalplatypus.com via Flickr Creative Commons)

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