A 2019 article in the British Journal of Sports Medicine (https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/53/14/859) attempted to address this question. This meta-analysis found that antihypertensive drugs were more effective in lowering blood pressure than structured exercise in the case of the general population. However, when looking specifically at people with high blood pressure, the meta-analysis found that exercise was as effective as most blood-lowering medication. However, the study authors advise against giving up on antihypertensive medication and replacing it with exercise.
The classification and treatment of hypertension is a constantly evolving topic. Please refer to the latest AHA/ACC guidelines on when to treat hypertension with nonpharmacologic and pharmacologic therapy.