Effect of exercise on blood pressure in type 2 diabetes: A randomized controlled trial

Devon A. Dobrosielski, Bethany Barone Gibbs, Pamela Ouyang, Susanne Bonekamp, Jeanne M. Clark, Nae Yuh Wang, Harry A. Silber, Edward P. Shapiro, Kerry J. Stewart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Increased blood pressure (BP) in type 2 diabetes (T2DM) markedly increases cardiovascular disease morbidity and mortality risk compared to having increased BP alone. OBJECTIVE: To investigate whether exercise reduces suboptimal levels of untreated suboptimal BP or treated hypertension. DESIGN: Prospective, randomized controlled trial for 6 months. SETTING: Single center in Baltimore, MD, USA. PATIENTS: 140 participants with T2DM not requiring insulin and untreated SBP of 120-159 or DBP of 85-99 mmHg, or, if being treated for hypertension, any SBP <159 mmHg or DBP<99 mmHg; 114 completed the study. INTERVENTION: Supervised exercise, 3 times per week for 6 months compared with general advice about physical activity. MEASUREMENTS: Resting SBP and DBP (primary outcome); diabetes status, arterial stiffness assessed as carotid-femoral pulse-wave velocity (PWV), body composition and fitness (secondary outcomes). RESULTS: Overall baseline BP was 126.8±13.5/71. 7±9.0 mmHg, with no group differences. At 6 months, BP was unchanged from baseline in either group, BP 125.8±13.2/70.7±8.8 mmHg in controls; and 126.0±14.2/70.3±9.0 mmHg in exercisers, despite attaining a training effects as evidenced by increased aerobic and strength fitness and lean mass and reduced fat mass (all p<0.05), Overall baseline PWV was 959.9±333.1 cm/s, with no group difference. At 6-months, PWV did not change and was not different between group; exercisers, 923.7±319.8 cm/s, 905.5± 344.7, controls. LIMITATIONS: A completion rate of 81 %. CONCLUSIONS: Though exercisers improve fitness and body composition, there were no reductions in BP. The lack of change in arterial stiffness suggests a resistance to exercise-induced BP reduction in persons with T2DM.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1453-1459
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of general internal medicine
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2012


  • Diabetes
  • Exercise training
  • High blood pressure
  • Randomized trial

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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