Scientists from Indiana University had found that doing household activities like cleaning the house and the backyards, washing the car etc could prevent hypertension and conditions of prehypertension in people.
The study found that regardless of intensity, four hours of accumulated daily lifestyle physical activity had the effect of dropping study participants' blood pressure by a category -- from hypertensive to prehypertensive and from prehypertensive to normal -- for an average of eight and six hours, respectively.
These preliminary findings indicate that these lifestyle physical activities can be as effective as or more effective than other lifestyle modifications, such as special diets and exercise, in reducing high blood pressure. High blood pressure typically is treated through lifestyle changes and medication.
The findings indicate that physical activity should be considered as an essential component in the management of blood pressure, said the researchers.
Their findings appear in the August issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.
The study involved 28 people ages 42 to 63 who had normal blood pressure, had prehypertension, or had a diagnosis of hypertension made by a physician. They were asked to accumulate 150 calories of house and gardening-type activities during a 12-hour period. They wore accelerometers, which measure activity and intensity, and automated ambulatory blood pressure monitors, so they could be monitored closely during both the 24-hour period during which the activity occurred and during a 24-hour period that did not include the activities.
The researchers had said that the next step in their research would involve seeing if lifestyle physical activity can cause a 'chronic effect,' where such activity over time can result in a drop in blood pressure that lasts longer.