This study was designed to compare the resting and exercise hemodynamics of older adults with moderate hypertension with those of age-matched normotensive controls. Thirty-one hypertensive (20 men, 11 women; mean age, 63.9 ± 2.8 years) and 28 normotensive subjects (15 men, 13 women; mean age, 62.6 ± 2.4 years) were studied. There were no differences between the groups in terms of body weight, body composition, and maximal O2 consumption (V̇(O2)). At rest, there were differences in V̇(O2), cardiac output, stroke volume, or heart rate between the two groups, although systolic (158 ± 13 vs 121 ± 12 mm Hg) and diastolic blood pressures (94 ± 7 vs 79 ± 8 mm Hg) were higher in the hypertensive subjects. The hypertensive subjects' elevated blood pressure at rest was the result of a higher total peripheral resistance. During exercise, the hypertensive subjects had a lower cardiac output and stroke volume, no difference in heart rate and V̇(O2), higher systolic, diastolic, and mean blood pressures, and a higher total peripheral resistance compared with their normotensive peers. The results indicate that older hypertensive persons have an altered cardiovascular response to exercise as compared with age-matched normotensive subjects. The responses also indicate that older essential hypertensive persons do not undergo excessive myocardial demands during exercise of the intensity usually prescribed in rehabilitation programs.