Exercise: A drug-free way to reduce high blood pressure
Nov 23, 2022
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High blood pressure is closely related to physical inactivity. Discover how small changes in your daily routine can make a big difference.
Your risk of high blood pressure increases with age, but getting some exercise can make a big difference. If your blood pressure is already high, exercise can help control it. Don't think you have to run a marathon or join a gym. Instead, start slowly and gradually add more physical activity to your daily life.
How does exercise lower blood pressure
What's the connection between high blood pressure and exercise? Regular physical activity will make your heart stronger. A strong heart can easily pump more blood. If the heart can pump blood without effort, the pressure on the arteries decreases, lowering blood pressure.
Increased activity can lower systolic blood pressure, the higher of the blood pressure readings, by an average of 4 to 9 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). Increased activity can have the same effect as some blood pressure medications. For some people, increasing exercise can be enough to reduce the need for blood pressure medication.
If your blood pressure is at the ideal level, which is less than 120/80 MMHG, exercise can prevent it from rising as you age. Regular exercise can also help you maintain a healthy weight, which is another important way to control your blood pressure.
But regular exercise is needed to keep blood pressure low. It takes about one to three months for regular exercise to have an effect on your blood pressure. As long as you keep exercising, the benefits will last.
How much exercise do you need?
Aerobic exercise may be an effective way to control high blood pressure. However, flexibility training and strength training (such as iron lifting) are also an important part of the overall fitness program. You don't need to spend hours in the gym every day to benefit from cardio. Simply adding moderate physical activity to your daily routine will help.
Any physical activity that increases your heart and respiratory rate is considered aerobic, including:
- Housework, such as mowing, raking leaves, gardening, or scrubbing floors
- Strenuous exercise, such as basketball or tennis
- Climb the stairs
- Ride a bike
The Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise, or a combination of moderate and vigorous exercise, per week. Aim for at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise on multiple days of the week.If you can't set aside that much time at once,
remember that short bursts of activity can be beneficial. You can get the same benefits from three 10-minute sessions of aerobic exercise as one 30-minute session.
Also, if you sit for several hours a day, try to reduce the amount of time you spend sitting. Studies have found that sitting for too long can lead to a number of health conditions. Aim for five to 10 minutes of low-impact physical activity every hour, such as getting up for a drink of water or taking a short walk. You can set reminders in your email calendar or on your smartphone.
When you need a doctor's approval
Sometimes, it's best to consult a doctor before making an exercise plan, especially if:
- You are a man over 45 or a woman over 55.
- You have smoked or quit smoking in the past six months.
- You are overweight or obese.
- You have a chronic medical condition, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or lung disease.
- You have high cholesterol or high blood pressure.
- You have heart disease.
- You have a family history of heart problems (before age 55 for men and before age 65 for women).
- You feel pain or discomfort in your chest, jaw, neck, or arm during exercise.
- You feel dizzy when you are tired.
- You're not sure if you're healthy, or you're not in the habit of exercising regularly.
If you take any medication on a regular basis, ask your doctor if exercise causes changes in efficacy or side effects, or if your medication affects your body's response to exercise.
Keep a safe
To reduce the risk of injury while exercising, start slowly. Remember to warm up before exercise and cool down after. Gradually increase the intensity of the exercise.
Stop exercising and seek medical attention immediately if you experience any of the following warning signs during exercise:
Pain or stiffness in the chest, neck, jaw or arm
- Dizziness or fainting
- Severe shortness of breath
- Irregular heartbeat
The only way to detect high blood pressure is to track blood pressure readings. Take your blood pressure every time you see your doctor or use a home sphygmomanometer.
If you already have high blood pressure, home monitoring can help you see if your fitness habits are helping to lower your blood pressure, and it can be done with home monitoring so you don't have to go to the doctor as usual to get your blood pressure checked. Home blood pressure monitoring is not a substitute for medical consultation, and home blood pressure monitoring may have some limitations.
If you decide to monitor your blood pressure at home, checking your blood pressure before exercising will give you the most accurate reading.There you can have a try of our BP smart watch to monitor your blood pressure everywhere if you need.