This study was conducted by researchers at the Indiana University and was published in the September issue of the Journal of Hypertension.
When blood pressure ranges from 120-139 mm Hg over 80-89 mm Hg, it is a condition called prehypertension. The only currently recommended treatment for this condition is 30 minutes of "moderately intense" exercise on most of the weekdays. Prehypertension usually leads to high blood pressure, which is connected with heart attack, heart failure, kidney failure, stroke and blindness.
The effects of four 10-minute walks were compared with one 40-minute walk in lowering blood pressure in 20 people with prehypertension.
Dr. Saejong Park of Indiana University in Bloomington and colleagues reported that blood pressures were lowered for 3-4 hours longer after the four 10-minute session on a treadmill with a break of an hour, than after a single 40-minute treadmill workout.
In the study, after the shorter sessions, the systolic blood pressure remained low for 11 hours and the diastolic pressure for 10 hours, whereas after the single long session, both the systolic and diastolic pressure remained low for up to only 7 hours.
"Results of our study indicate that as few as four 10-minute walking sessions per day is effective in reducing blood pressure in prehypertension," Park and his team concluded.
The researchers propose that restoration of the balance of nerves controlling blood pressure's response to daily demands must be better achieved by shorter workouts than a single longer one.