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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

Emerging Science Note/Pass the Dustpan

Air Date: Week of

Living on Earth's Jennifer Chu reports that yard work could be the key to reducing high blood pressure.


GELLERMAN: Just ahead: marrying nature and modern farming in West Marin County, California. First, this Note on Emerging Science from Jennifer Chu.


CHU: Improving your home could also improve your health, especially if you have a history of hypertension.

Scientists at Indiana University found normal household chores - like cleaning and gardening – can significantly reduce high blood pressure. Researchers studied three different groups of adults between the ages of 42 and 63. Eight adults with normal blood pressure, ten with high blood pressure, and ten who could develop high blood pressure if left unchecked.

All three groups were asked to perform pre-determined household activities calculated to burn up to 150 calories a day. On another day, they were told to abstain from these activities. On both days, scientists outfitted subjects with a blood pressure monitor, and an accelerometer, to measure the intensity of their movements.

Those with normal blood pressure experienced no change after a day of housework, compared with a day of rest. But the other two groups showed significantly lower blood pressure levels.

Scientists say their results bolster advice from health experts that to lower blood pressure, patients with high blood pressure should adopt a daily regiment of light, rather than heavy exercise. So instead of heading for the treadmill, consider taking the lawnmower out for a spin. That’s this week’s Note on Emerging Science. I’m Jennifer Chu.

GELLERMAN: And you’re listening to Living on Earth.



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