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Stand up for your blood pressure after stroke
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Stand up for your blood pressure after stroke

Professor Coralie English, Institution: The University of Newcastle

2017 Vanguard Grant

Years funded: 2018-2021


There are 440,000 Australians currently living with stroke who are at a high risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) including having another stroke.

Our work has shown that people with stroke are very sedentary (spend much of their day sitting down) and find it very difficult to exercise. This profile of high sitting and low activity is strongly associated with increased risk of CVD.

High blood pressure is the highest risk factor for stroke and with 70% of stroke survivors having high blood pressure; interventions to manage this are essential. Our group is leading the world in understanding the biological effects of inactivity on the cardiovascular health of stroke survivors.

Results from our recently completed study, Breaking Up Sitting Time after Stroke (BUST) showed that short, regular bouts of gentle exercises in standing during the day significantly reduced blood pressure compared to 8 hours of uninterrupted sitting (REF).

In our follow-up study (BUST-BP-Dose) we found that a minimum of 4 x 5 min bouts of standing exercises over an 8 hour period are needed to see reductions in systolic blood pressure (Mackie et al J Phys Activity Health 2021a). This is equivalent to completing bouts of light-intensity standing exercise every 2 hours over an 8-hour period. The more frequently the bouts of standing exercises are completed, the better the reduction in systolic and diastolic blood pressure in stroke survivors. Our follow up study also found 4 x 5 min bouts of standing exercises to reduce glucose levels following a controlled meal (Mackie et al J Phys Activity Health 2021b).

Our studies show that completing at least 5 minutes of standing exercises (marching on the spot, calf-raises, half-squats) every 2 hours improves blood pressure and glucose response, with more bouts being better.

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