Exercise + High Blood Pressure

= Low Blood Pressure

If your blood pressure measures is 140/90 mm/Hg or higher, you have hypertension, a.k.a. high blood pressure. A diagnosis of high blood pressure can be unsettling-and for good reason.

High blood pressure increases your risk of stroke, heart disease, and kidney damage.

If you’re one of the many people who dislike the idea of being on blood pressure medication the rest of your life, there’s good news. Your blood pressure is greatly affected by your lifestyle.

How is this good news? Because that means that you are largely in control of your blood pressure. What lifestyle change should you make? Get more exercise! After all, regular exercise is one of the most significant lifestyle changes you can make to avoid, delay, or lower your blood pressure.

So if you’re tired of popping pills to keep your blood pressure under control, keep reading to learn more about pushing your blood pressure down by working out.

The Exercise-Blood Pressure Connection

Physical activity gets your heart pumping, and regular physical activity leads to a strong heart. When your heart is strong, it doesn’t have to work as hard to pump blood throughout your body. This means that there’s less pressure on your arteries and you have a lower blood pressure. (In addition, exercise is a proven way to lose weight, lower cholesterol, and reduce your risk of diabetes, which are all risk factors for high blood pressure.)

One to three months of regular exercise has the potential of lowering your systolic blood pressure (the top number in your blood pressure reading) by as much as four to nine mm/Hg, the same effect as many blood pressure medications. However, your lowered blood pressure will only last as long as you exercise. When exercise ceases to be a part of your daily routine, be prepared for your blood pressure to creep back up.

How Much Exercise?

Controlling your blood pressure through exercise doesn’t mean life as you know it is over. You don’t have to train for a marathon or even join an expensive gym. It doesn’t take hours every day to reap the benefits exercise has to offer. Start small and slowly if you need to, gradually working up to at least 150 minutes each week of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity exercise. If you’d rather, do a combination of both moderate and vigorous activity.

How can it be done? Break the 150 minutes down into 30-minute intervals five days a week. If your schedule doesn’t allow for large blocks of time set aside for exercise, divide your workout into even smaller chunks of time. Maybe it would be easier for you to handle three 10-minute workout sessions each day.

What Type of Exercise?

A well-balanced fitness routine should include cardio exercise (gets your heart rate up and increases breathing), strength training (lifting weights), and flexibility exercises (stretching). However, in order to control blood pressure, cardio exercise is of greatest importance.

Examples of cardio exercises include anything from household chores (vacuuming or raking leaves) to competitive sports. Find an exercise or exercises you enjoy and add them to your day. Join a basketball rec team, take a walk during lunch break, ride your bike, go jogging, or go on a hike with your family. Whatever gets you moving, go for it!

Stay Safe

If you have high blood pressure, you may need to use extreme caution if you choose to lift weights, as lifting heavy things increases your blood pressure. Learn proper technique and be sure to get your doctor’s okay before pumping iron.

In addition, play it safe and check with your doctor before starting an exercise routine if any of the following pertain to you:

  • you’re over 40 years of age and male, or over 50 and female
  • you smoke
  • you’re overweight
  • you’ve had a stroke or heart attack
  • you feel dizzy or experience chest pains with physical activity
  • you have a family history of heart problems
  • you’re taking regular medications (exercise may affect the way your medication works)

Want to make your exercise routine as safe and beneficial as possible? While having a good friend by your side is helpful, having a great personal trainer is even better. If you’ve found a personal trainer you trust, lean on him or her to help you meet your goals in a safe way.

Avoid Extremes.

No matter when you’re starting your new blood pressure-lowering exercise routine, be careful to avoid working out in extremely hot or cold temperatures. Forcing your body to work harder than it has in a long time-especially in dangerously hot or cold temperatures can be a recipe for disaster.

Healthier You Ecourse

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