New York: Many older adults like to take a dip a pool, and now a small study suggests it can be good for their blood pressure.Researchers found that among 43 older men and women, those who started swimming a few times a week lowered their systolic blood pressure -- the "top" number in a blood pressure reading.On average, the swimmers started the study with a systolic blood pressure of 131 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). Three months later, it was 122 mm Hg.Normal blood pressure is defined as an average reading no higher than 120/80 mm Hg. Readings of 140/90 or higher are considered high blood pressure, and anything in between is considered "pre-hypertension."Swimming is often promoted as a good way for older people to exercise, since it`s easy on the joints and it`s not likely to cause overheating. And many follow that advice: after walking, swimming is the second-most popular form of exercise among the older set.But there`s been little research into the health benefits of swimming -- though a number of studies have suggested that it`s as safe for older adults as walking and bicycling, said Hirofumi Tanaka, senior researcher on the new study.
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