Exercise and High Blood Pressure
Exercise is one of the key ways to lower your blood pressure. Exercise can lower your blood pressure by as much as five to 15 points. Working out also boosts the effectiveness of blood pressure medication if you are already being treated for hypertension. You do not have to be an athlete, either.
Find activities you enjoy, and aim for 30 minutes a day of exercise on most days of the week. If you can’t stand the gym, not a problem. Dancing counts. So do yoga, hiking, gardening, and anything else that gets your heart beating a bit faster. Since you’re going to be making it a habit, pick things you’ll want to do often. Let your doctor know what you have in mind, so they can make sure you’re ready.
Strength training should be part of your routine. You can use weights, weight machines, exercise bands, or your own body weight by doing abdominal crunches or curl-ups. You’ll lose body fat, boost muscle mass, and raise your metabolic rate. Losing as little as 10 pounds can lower or help prevent high blood pressure if you’re overweight.
Doing aerobic exercise (cardio) is good for your blood pressure. Swimming is a gentle way to do it. Go for 30 minutes, or work up to that amount if that’s too much right now.
Start slowly to prevent injuries. Start with 10 to 15 minutes of exercise you enjoy, such as walking around the block or on a treadmill. You can gradually make your workouts longer and more challenging.
Pace yourself to avoid injury
If you’re new to exercise, remember to pace yourself. Select a low- to moderate-intensity exercise such as gentle forms of yoga, gardening, or any other activity that you can do at a moderate pace. Gradually increase the intensity and duration of exercise as you become fitter, to help maintain your lowered blood pressure.
Make exercise convenient
Commit to making exercise part of your schedule. Find a time that works for you. You can work out while the kids are at soccer practice, before or after work, or even during your lunch break. If it’s hard to get out of the house, consider getting some workout apps or DVDs, a yoga mat, and hand-held weights you can use at home.
Add 10-minute mini-workouts, and do these throughout your busy day. For example, you can jog in place or do calisthenics for 10 minutes. Three 10-minute mini-workouts equal 30 minutes of daily exercise in little bits of time you won’t miss.
Pick items that fit in with what you want to do: a step bench, jump rope, fit ball, exercise bands or tubes, and weights, for example. You can store them in a closet when you’re not using them. If you have more space and a bigger budget, consider getting a treadmill or stationary bike.
Warm Up and Cool Down
Warming up before exercise and cooling down after are important for people with high blood pressure. These exercises let your heart rate rise and return to normal gradually. Walking in place or on a treadmill for 10 minutes is fine for warming up before exercise and also for cooling down.
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