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Association of Exercise Heart Rate Response and Incidence of Hypertension in Men



      To examine the association of heart rate (HR) responses at rest, during exercise, and after exercise with incident hypertension (HTN) in men.

      Participants and Methods

      A total of 10,418 healthy normotensive men without abnormalities on electrocardiography or a history of myocardial infarction, stroke, cancer, or diabetes underwent a maximal exercise test and were followed up for incidence of HTN. Heart rate reserve was defined as the maximal HR minus resting HR. Heart rate recovery was defined as HR 5 minutes after the exercise test.


      During a mean follow-up of 6 years, there were 2831 cases of HTN. Compared with men who had lower HR reserve, the risk of incident HTN was significantly lower for men with higher HR reserve (hazard ratio, 0.84; 95% CI, 0.74-0.95 for the highest quartile vs the lowest quartile of HR reserve; P=.002) when adjusted for age, baseline examination year, smoking, heavy drinking, body mass index, resting blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels, and cardiorespiratory fitness. Compared with men who had higher HR recovery, the risk of incident HTN was significantly lower for men with lower HR recovery (hazard ratio, 0.90; 95% CI, 0.80-0.99 for quartile 3 vs highest quartile; P=.04) after adjusting for the aforementioned confounders. However, the overall linear trend for HR recovery was not significant (P=.26).


      The risk of HTN decreased in men with higher HR reserve. Therefore, HR reserve may be considered as a useful exercise parameter for predicting the risk of HTN in men.

      Abbreviations and Acronyms:

      BMI (body mass index), CHD (coronary heart disease), CRF (cardiorespiratory fitness), CV (cardiovascular), CVD (cardiovascular disease), ECG (electrocardiography), HR (heart rate), HTN (hypertension), RHR (resting HR)
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