Exercise and blood pressure are closely related. Not getting enough exercise gradually increases the risk of hypertension or high blood pressure as a person gets older, and on the other hand proper exercise can help control blood pressure in persons who are already diagnosed with hypertension.
Effects of exercise on blood pressure
Regular physical activity and exercise have numerous positive effects on the overall health. Exercise makes the hearts stronger and improves the circulation of blood. Strong heart pumps more blood with less effort to it, causing less strain and force on the blood vessels. This directly leads to lower blood pressure.
Engaging in regular physical activity lowers the systolic blood pressure, presented by the top number in a blood pressure reading, by 5 to 10 mmHg, which is the same effect as some hypertension drugs, especially in people with mild hypertension.
In addition, in people whose blood pressure is at normal values, which is approximately 120/80 mmHg, regular exercise significantly reduces the risk of hypertension that may come with age or due to other factors.
In order for exercise to have a positive impact on blood pressure, it is necessary to work out on regular basis for at least one month and to stay physically active.
The amount and the type of exercise for hypertension
Even though resistance training, with or without weights, is always an important part in any workout routine, aerobic exercise is crucial when it comes to hypertension management. This does not mean spending hours each day in the gym. Simply adding a few dynamic and fun workouts to the daily activities will do the trick.
Aerobic exercise is any type of activity that increases the heart and breathing rates. This may include jogging, walking, hiking, swimming, riding a bicycle, climbing stairs, participating in sports like basketball, volleyball or tennis, or simply doing choirs such as raking, vacuuming, mowing the lawn or scrubbing the floor.
The goal should be at least 30 minutes of such activities five or six days per week. The workout can be divided into three 10-minute sessions too.
Some people are advised to see a doctor before starting a new exercise program. This includes people older than 50, smokers, persons who are overweight, who have another medical condition, who have had a heart attack. In fact, any person diagnosed with hypertension should consult a doctor, just in case, and learn about the best exercises for their particular problem.