UFFALO, N.Y. -- A simple morning walk to school could reduce stress
reactivity in children during the school day, curbing increases in heart
rate and blood pressure that can lead to cardiovascular disease later
in life, according to a new University at Buffalo study. UB researchers report in the August 2010 issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise that children who took a simulated walk to school later experienced smaller elevations in systolic blood pressure, heart rate and perceived stress while taking a short exam than children who had gotten a simulated ride to school.
Cardiovascular reactivity -- including changes in heart rate and blood pressure due to stress -- is associated with the beginnings of cardiovascular disease in children, and atherosclerosis -- the dangerous build-up of cholesterol, calcium, fat and other substances in artery walls -- in adults.