High blood pressure should no stop you from exercising.  In fact, exercising can improve blood pressure numbers.  Before starting any exercise regime you should check with your doctor to determine what exercise level is safe for you. 

Regular exercise can lower blood pressure, increase energy, ease stress, improve sleep and help you maintain a healthy weight.  Regular exercise is the one lifestyle habit that is the most effective for lowering and/or controlling your blood pressure.  It is more effective than salt reduction, alcohol reduction or even weight loss.

Regular exercise makes your heart stronger, allowing your heart to pump blood with less effort.  The less your heart works, the less pressure on your arteries, the lower your blood pressure.  Exercise also reduces your risks for stroke and cardiovascular disease which are often tied to your blood pressure.



What is High Blood Pressure?

The American College of Cardiology/American heart Association 2017 Guideline now defines high blood pressure as a systolic number 130 or more and a diastolic number 80 or more.



Best Exercise For Those with High Blood Pressure:

The best exercises are when you find physical activities that you love and incorporate them into your weekly routine.  For example if you love to garden, or dance, or bike make this a regular habit and you have exercise.

Moderate aerobic physical activity is best for those dealing with high blood pressure.  You know you are working at a moderate intensity when it takes some effort to breathe but you are still able to talk.  You should be slightly warm and sweaty.

You want to do activities that get your large muscle groups working.  Both your arms and legs should be moving.  Examples:  walking, jogging, hiking, jumping rope, cross-country skiing, swimming or aerobics.  Stretching is also good, think yoga or Pilates.  Stretching will help you improve and maintain flexibility.

Exercise has no adverse side effects like some blood pressure medications.

It may take 3 months of increased physical activity to see results.  Do not get discouraged.


Exercise Warnings for Those with High Blood Pressure:

Strength training is OK but be careful.  Lifting weights is not generally recommended for those with high blood pressure.  High intensity exercise raises your blood pressure quickly.  It is better to stay away from sprinting, scuba, parachuting and weight lifting.

STOP all activity if you have chest pain, dizziness, breathless, pain in your arm or jaw or have an irregular heart beat.


Lifestyle Changes:

  • Regular Exercise –  Getting at least 150 minutes of physical activity each week (about 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week)
  • Eat a health diet high in veggies and fruits.
  • Don’t smoke or use tobacco products.
  • Manage stress.
  • Limit sodium, alcohol and caffeine.
  • Lose weight and maintain a healthy weight.



A lack of physical activity is linked to high blood pressure and being more active can lower your blood pressure.  Lowering your blood pressure and keeping your heart and vessels in good shape will lower your risk for heart disease and stroke.


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