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Am Fam Physician. 2022;105(1):22-23

This clinical content conforms to AAFP criteria for CME.

Author disclosure: No relevant financial relationships.

Clinical Question

Is routine walking an effective way to lower blood pressure?

Evidence-Based Answer

Walking lowers systolic blood pressure by 4.11 mm Hg (95% CI, 3.01 to 5.22 mm Hg). It lowers diastolic blood pressure by 1.79 mm Hg (95% CI, 1.07 to 2.51 mm Hg) and resting heart rate by 2.76 beats per minute (bpm; 95% CI, 0.95 to 4.57 bpm).1 (Strength of Recommendation: C, based on low- to moderate-certainty disease-oriented evidence.)

Practice Pointers

Hypertension can contribute to heart disease2 and is affected by an individual's physical activity level and lifestyle habits.3 Walking can be a relatively easy and affordable way to incorporate lifestyle changes and potentially lower blood pressure.

The authors of this Cochrane review evaluated studies of walking compared with no physical activity to lower blood pressure.1 This review included 73 randomized controlled trials and 5,763 participants. Participants were 16 to 84 years of age and normotensive or hypertensive men and women with various health conditions—the category “prehypertensive” was not discussed. The primary outcome was change in systolic blood pressure; secondary outcomes included changes in diastolic blood pressure and heart rate.

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These are summaries of reviews from the Cochrane Library.

This series is coordinated by Corey D. Fogleman, MD, assistant medical editor.

A collection of Cochrane for Clinicians published in AFP is available at

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