Exercising under Pressure

Tips to keep you safe while exercising with high blood pressure.

Consisting of two numbers, your blood pressure is a measure of how hard your blood pushes against your arteries when your heart is beating (this is the top number, systolic blood pressure) and when it is resting (the bottom number, or diastolic blood pressure). Ideally, your blood pressure should not exceed 120/80 millimeters of mercury while resting. If you live with high blood pressure, you may fear exercise, as lifting weights, running, swimming, and other activities can temporarily raise your blood pressure. However, having high blood pressure isn’t a license to stay out of the gym.

Here’s what you should know to exercise safely, even if your blood pressure isn’t in tip-top shape.

Start Easy

Afraid of pushing yourself too hard too fast? There’s nothing wrong with a little caution – especially if you’re planning to exercise with a pre-existing condition, such as high blood pressure. Instead of going full force at the gym and then running three miles to get home, start out with a short walk, a light jog, or a gentle workout in the gym.

As you begin to know how your body responds to exercise, you can push yourself a little harder and longer. Just be careful. Unless you take other active steps to keep your blood pressure in check, you could suffer a sudden spike in blood pressure that could be extremely dangerous.

Don’t Stress

To get the maximum benefits of exercise, you’ll need to stress your body. However, you should be careful to avoid exercises that put sudden and intense exertion if you have high blood pressure. Some of these exercises include heavy weight lifting, push-ups, pull-ups, and even strenuous digging in your yard.

Already in pretty good shape? Been exercising a while in an effort to improve your high blood pressure? Your body should be prepared to withstand the added stress of intense exercises. But before launching into these strenuous and demanding exercises, speak with your physician or an exercise professional to ensure your safety.

Make It Routine

Want to put yourself at risk for dangerous surges in blood pressure at the gym? Then only go every once in a while, and work out as hard as you can. Prefer to keep your blood pressure in check and help it improve? Then you’ll need to get to the gym at least three times a week for 30 minutes at a time.

Have lots of life to take care of and feel the urge to skip out on your workout here and there? Fight the temptation! With each visit to your local gym, you burn off calories and help your heart beat better. And when your heart is working as it should, your heart requires less effort to push blood throughout your body. Ultimately, this leads to something you’d love to achieve: lowered blood pressure!

Side Order of Healthy

Determined to get your blood pressure under control? If you’ve dedicated yourself to regular exercise, you’ve already taken a giant leap toward your good health. But you can’t just stop with working out. You’ll need to make some changes with what you put in your mouth on a daily basis.

Enjoy piling salt on your foods every chance you get? You’re going to have to put an end to that. Instead of salt-ridden potted meats and French fries, add in more fresh fruits and vegetables to your diet. You’ll also want to go with water more often than any other beverage, add some fiber to your plate, and if you’ve got to eat canned fruits, get the ones that are packaged in their own natural juice.