High blood pressure (hypertension) is considered the most common cardiovascular disease. Arterial hypertension is regularly elevated blood pressure from 140/90 mmHg and above. In this article, we will look at physical activity/exercise. Doctors have long agreed that regular exercise is one of the ways that effectively helps lowering high blood pressure and maintain good health.
Exercise helps to reduce blood pressure in several ways. It can help you keep a healthy weight and reduce stress, which are critical factors in managing hypertension. Additionally, exercise strengthens the heart muscle, making it more efficient in pumping blood throughout the body. It helps to decrease the pressure inside your arteries, leading to lower blood pressure readings. To get started, it’s important to first speak with your doctor about any concerns regarding exercise and hypertension. They can give you personalized advice on the best type of physical activity for you depending on your overall health.
Importance of managing high blood pressure
Hypertension can occur as a result of various reasons. The main risk factors are smoking, excessive body weight, digestive disorders, bad diet and a sedentary lifestyle. All this reduces blood vessels’ elasticity, resulting in an additional load on the heart and excess release of blood into the vascular bed. Such conditions can lead to dangerous consequences such as heart attack, stroke, kidney failure and other serious illnesses.
People with this diagnosis must be periodically checked and treated by a doctor. However, the best option is to prevent this pathology or, if there is one, manage it with lifestyle choices.
Exercise and physical activity
One effective way to restore the cardiovascular system, stabilise heart function, lower blood cholesterol, and get your body in shape is to exercise and stay physically active.
It is important to remember to monitor your blood pressure, especially the changes in your blood pressure, before and after exercise. Make sure to determine your normal blood pressure reading to set it as a baseline and log all the changes to understand the trend when it happens.
What blood pressure reading to log?
initial baseline diastolic and systolic blood pressure (before begging the exercise program)
resting blood pressure (before each exercise routine)
blood pressure after each routine
It is essential to log and compare systolic pressure and diastolic pressure to understand blood pressure level.
Why is exercise good for heart health?
It is believed that lifestyle determines human health by 50-55%. Most people in modern society suffer from hypodynamia – lack of activity. We spend 6-8 hours at the desk and several hours in transport, and there is neither energy nor desire to do anything in the evening. Undoubtedly, physical activity is one of the medical practice’s most critical prevention methods. However, it is worth paying attention to the fact that you must consult your doctor before planning the workout. After all, you should always have moderate exercise without excess.
The best part is that exercise is not only good for heart health but also has other great benefits for overall health.
8 health benefits of exercise
Improved heart health and cardiovascular system
Lower blood pressure
Increased energy levels
Improved mental clarity and focus
Reduced stress levels
Strengthened immune system
Improved quality of sleep
Types of exercises and their effects
Aerobic exercise (cardio exercise)
Aerobic or cardio exercises, such as walking, jogging, running and swimming, are a great way to reduce blood pressure. Aerobic activities increase your heart rate, which increases blood circulation and helps to reduce stress on your cardiovascular system. Your heart has to pump faster and harder when you exercise to circulate the oxygen-rich blood to your working muscles.
Over time, with regular aerobic exercise, your lungs will become more robust and more efficient at taking in oxygen. Additionally, this increased circulation helps your body rid itself of toxins that can build up over time and contribute to high blood pressure levels.
Research suggests that 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity at least five days per week can significantly reduce systolic and diastolic high blood pressure. Aerobic exercises help you physically and provide mental benefits, including improved focus, better sleep patterns and more energy throughout the day.
Strength training is an effective way to help reduce blood pressure. When you lift weights, it causes your muscles to contract and expand, which increases your blood flow and helps to lower both systolic and diastolic blood pressure readings. Strength training also works by helping you grow muscle mass in your body, as each pound of increasing muscle boosts your resting metabolic rate. This means that even when you’re resting, your body will burn calories faster, which can help combat high blood pressure.
Additionally, strength training improves circulation and flexibility in the cardiovascular system. When done correctly and safely, it can improve the function of your cardiovascular system while reducing the strain on the heart. The American Heart Association recommends at least two days per week of moderate-level strength training for anyone looking to improve their cardiovascular health.
However, anyone with a history of high blood pressure should speak with their doctor before starting any strength training program, as some exercises may not suit them.
Stretching and flexibility exercises
Stretching and flexibility exercises can be beneficial in reducing blood pressure. By stretching, the body releases endorphins, hormones that can lower stress levels, reduce anxiety and even bring happiness. Endorphins also help to relax tense muscles, which can affect how quickly your heart rate increases when exercising.
Additionally, stretching helps improve circulation throughout the body by encouraging increased oxygen intake into the lungs and pushing more oxygen-rich blood out to the muscles, which helps reduce strain on the cardiovascular system and lowers high blood pressure levels. Stretching also improves the range of motion due to its ability to increase circulation and loosen up tight muscles; this can help you perform other exercises with greater ease and safety.
However, it’s important not to overstretch your body as this can cause muscle fatigue. Instead, focus on slow movements and pauses at specific points during stretches to ensure proper form and prevent injury or further strain on the cardiovascular system. The American Heart Association recommends holding stretches for 30 seconds each, followed by a 10-second rest period between each stretch for maximum benefits.
Key considerations when exercising
Exercising can be a great way to help reduce high blood pressure. However, it is essential to follow some critical considerations before beginning a physical activity program. Firstly, consult your doctor or healthcare provider before starting any exercise routine. It is crucial if you have a history of high blood pressure, as certain activities may not suit you.
Once your doctor has approved an exercise plan, start slowly and gradually increase the intensity level as your body gets used to the activity. It is also important not to over-exert yourself when exercising to prevent putting too much strain on your cardiovascular system. Furthermore, listen to your body and rest as needed throughout the workout. Do not hesitate to stop exercising if you feel strained or experience unpleasant symptoms. You should control what type and how much exercise you do. Drink plenty of water before, during, and after your session.
Finally, focus on exercises emphasising breathing control since this can help regulate heart rate and blood pressure levels more effectively. Examples of such exercises include yoga, tai chi and pilates – all of which are low-impact options that can help bring your stress levels down while improving flexibility at the same time. By keeping these considerations in mind when exercising to reduce high blood pressure, you can ensure that you reap the maximum benefits without putting unnecessary strain on your body.
Consult a doctor before beginning any physical activity program, especially if you have a history of high blood pressure;
Start slow and gradually increase intensity levels as your body gets used to the exercise;
Avoid over-exertion when exercising to prevent putting too much strain on your cardiovascular system;
Listen to your body and rest as needed throughout the workout;
Drink plenty of water before, during, and after your exercise session; and
Focus on exercises that emphasise breathing control.
Preparing the body for exercise
Preparing your body for exercise is an essential step in any fitness routine. It is vital to prioritise pre-workout and post-workout activities to ensure that your body can handle the physical exertion of exercise and remain healthy afterwards.
Before exercising, make sure to warm up properly – this can involve stretching exercises, breathing exercises or some light cardio such as jogging or biking. Both dynamic (which involve movement) and static (which are held for a length of time) stretches can help you prepare your body for physical activity. Warming up helps increase flexibility and circulation, reducing the risk of injury and making your workout more effective.
Post-workout care is just as critical as pre-workout preparation. Cooling down after a workout allows the muscles to gradually return to their resting state, decreasing stiffness and fatigue. Include a combination of stretching and breathing exercises designed to slow the heart rate down slowly and help with muscle recovery. Additionally, drinking plenty of water throughout the day is essential to maintain hydration and replenish electrolytes lost through sweat during workouts. By taking these steps before and after exercise, you will be better equipped to achieve your program goals while ensuring that your body stays healthy in the process!
Developing an effective exercise routine to lower blood pressure
When creating an effective exercise routine or workout plan tailored to reduce high blood pressure, consider types of exercises, frequency, schedule and timing for maximum results. According to your doctor’s advice and recommendations, choose specific exercises (such as yoga, tai chi or pilates) to target heart rate and blood pressure levels. For starters, begin with low-impact activities and gradually increase intensity levels as you become more comfortable. The key is to avoid over-exerting yourself to prevent additional strain on your cardiovascular system.
When constructing a weekly plan, allow for one rest day per week and break up the remaining days into different muscle groups or activities; this helps prevent fatigue caused by overtraining. Make sure to incorporate aerobic and resistance training into your program. Combine cardio exercises like running, swimming or cycling with strength training using weights or bodyweight movements such as squats and lunges.
Additionally, ensure adequate warm-ups before workouts to increase flexibility and cool-downs after each session to allow the muscles to return to their resting state. Finally, always consider any time constraints that may be present regarding when you can perform the physical activity. While exercising several times a week is ideal, it is essential to tailor the program to fit your daily routine.
Example of an effective exercise routine
This example incorporates different types of training. Your exercise plan does not have to include all of them. It is crucial to identify with your doctor what suits you best.
Monday: Morning – Warm up with dynamic stretching and low-impact cardio exercises. Follow with resistance training focusing on upper body strength exercises.
Tuesday: Morning – Warm up with dynamic stretching and low-impact cardio exercises. Follow with a yoga session focusing on breathing control and relaxation.
Wednesday: Morning – Warm up with dynamic stretching and low-impact cardio exercises. Follow with a HIIT workout centred around cardiovascular endurance.
Thursday: Rest day; take time for some gentle stretching or walking at a comfortable pace.
Friday: Morning – Warm up with dynamic stretching and low-impact cardio exercises. Follow with resistance training focusing on lower body strength exercises.
Saturday: Morning – Warm up with dynamic stretching and low-impact cardio exercises. Follow with aerobic activities such as swimming, jogging or cycling for 30 minutes.
Sunday: Rest day; take time for some gentle stretching or walking at a comfortable pace.