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Does Cardio Lower Blood Pressure

Whats The Best Type Of Exercise For Lowering Blood Pressure

High Blood Pressure Tools: Does aerobic exercise help lower blood pressure?

Aerobic exercise which includes most activities that make you moderately out of breath can help reduce your blood pressure by up to 10 per cent. This could be fast walking, jogging, cycling or swimming, but even mowing the lawn, digging the flower beds and dancing count, explains Daniel.

There is also plenty of research now to suggest that resistance training, when combined with moderate activity, can help to reduce BP, if done correctly. Dynamic resistance training includes activities such as weight lifting and circuit training.

Blood Pressure Levels For Women

For years, the standard healthy range of blood pressure for both men and women was considered to be around 120 for systolic and 80 for diastolic. However, new research suggests that the healthy blood pressure range for women is actually lower: around 110 for systolic readings. Researchers state that in women, a systolic reading of 120 or higher may signal an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and are recommending providers to lower their blood pressure reference ranges for women for more accurate diagnoses.2

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The Effects Of Cardio On Blood Pressure

Researchers did a lot of work on how cardio affects blood pressure, all meant to answer different questions.

Fortunately, at this point, the research isnt asking does cardio lower blood pressure? Its very clear that it does.

One study wanted to answer the question of to what extent can cardio lower your blood pressure in the elderly who have high blood pressure?

They found that a single workout lowers blood pressure by between 5-7 mm hg. So if your regular blood pressure is 140/90 mm hg, a single workout can lower it down as low as 133/83 mm hg. Not bad. And the effects last for 24 hours afterwards.

This drop in blood pressure after exercise is called post exercise hypotension .

Another study wanted to compare the effects of steady training against interval training . In both cases, the results were more in favour of steady state training. In the group that did steady state, both their systolic and diastolic blood pressure fell by 4-8 mm hg. The group that did interval training had a drop of 5-6 mm hg, but only in the diastolic blood pressure.

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Check Your Heart Rate

To reduce the risk of injury while exercising, start slowly. Remember to warm up before you exercise and cool down afterward. Build up the intensity of your workouts gradually.

Use these steps to check your heart rate during exercise:

  • Stop briefly.
  • Take your pulse for 15 seconds. To check your pulse over your carotid artery, place your index and third fingers on your neck to the side of your windpipe. To check your pulse at your wrist, place two fingers between the bone and the tendon over your radial artery — which is located on the thumb side of your wrist.
  • Multiply this number by 4 to calculate your beats per minute.

Here’s an example: You stop exercising and take your pulse for 15 seconds, getting 37 beats. Multiply 37 by 4, to get 148 beats per minute.

How Much Exercise To Lower Blood Pressure


For about two decades, the FITT Principle has been the standard of healthy and sustainable physical activity. Pescatello says the FITT recommendation for people with hypertension is an excellent guide for aerobic and resistance training. It goes like this:

Frequency: Aerobic: 5-7 days per week resistance: 2-3 days per weekIntensity: Aerobic: moderate resistance: 60-70 percent of 1-rep maximum Time: Aerobic: At least 30 minutes resistance: 2-4 sets of 8-12 reps for each major muscle groupType: Aerobic: Prolonged, rhythmic activities using major muscle groups resistance: resistance machines, free weights, or bodyweight

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Beyond Exercise: Lose 10 Pounds

If you are overweight, losing as few as 10 pounds can help you reduce or prevent high blood pressure. Weight loss results from taking in fewer calories than you use each day. See your doctor or a registered dietitian about how many calories you need daily for weight loss. Increase your exercise to burn even more calories!

For High Blood Pressure Do Aerobic Exercise Like Walking Running Or Cycling

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is defined as anything above 140/90 mmHg. People who are already at this level can benefit most from aerobic training, researchers found.

Often referred to as cardio exercise, this includes movements that ramp up your heart rate and make you breathe harder, including running, swimming, and cycling.

Lower intensity exercise such as walking and jogging is also included in this category.

The researchers found evidence that these exercises can work as well or better than any one medication for treating high blood pressure, Dr. Henner Hanssen, head of preventive sports medicine at the University of Basel in Switzerland, said in a press release.

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A Note About Hot Tubs And Saunas

People with high blood pressure should be able to tolerate saunas well as long as their blood pressure is under control. If you have high blood pressure and have any concerns about hot tubs and saunas, consult your healthcare professional for advice.

Heat from hot tubs and saunas cause blood vessels to open up . Vasodilation also happens during normal activities like a brisk walk.

  • If your doctor has told you to avoid moderate exercise, you should also be careful when considering hot tubs and saunas.
  • People with high blood pressure should not move back and forth between cold water and hot tubs or saunas as this could cause an increase in blood pressure.
  • Drinking alcohol and using a sauna isn’t a good combination either, so don’t mix the two.

Learn more

Engage In Regular Exercise

Exercise Your Way to Lower Blood Pressure

Physical activity works remarkably well in lowering blood pressure. When you exercise, you do more than just build muscle mass. It improves your heart and increases blood circulation within your body. Working out also helps lower stress levels. The more stress you have, the higher your blood pressure.

More importantly, engaging in exercise will help you shed pounds and help keep your blood pressure in check. Sadly, studies show that most overweight people have higher blood pressure. If you lose 5% to 10% of your body weight, it can reduce your blood pressure levels.

Fortunately, many exercises are safe for hypertensive patients. Take a look at the following:

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When Physical Activity Does Not Work To Lower Blood Pressure

We wish that exercise worked for everyone all the time, but unfortunately nothing works for 100% of the people, 100% of the time. Not medications, not surgery, and not exercise.

So its important to know when exercise for high blood pressure does not work.

First of all, exercise fails to lower blood pressure about 20-25% of the time. That doesnt mean it doesnt have other benefits. Itll make you stronger, give you more endurance, have positive effects on other systems of your body . It just wont affect your blood pressure.

Fortunately, you know very quickly whether youre a non-responder. Given that you see drops in blood pressure in a matter of hours after exercise, and theyre the same for first-time exercisers as well as experienced exercisers, if after the first session, your blood pressure doesnt drop in a matter of a few hours, you might be a non-responder to exercise .

Some very preliminary research suggests that the non-responders likely have high CRP and fibrinogen levels in addition to their high blood pressure. However, those with high blood sugar levels, and a poor cholesterol profile do respond very well to exercise.

Again, I want to emphasize that this doesnt mean that if your blood pressure doesnt change in response to exercise that it means that exercise is useless. It just means that it doesnt affect your blood pressure, but it will positively affect a lot of other things, like your strength, energy levels, mobility, and more.

How Do You Raise Diastolic Blood Pressure

Treatment Use more salt. Experts usually recommend limiting salt in your diet because sodium can raise blood pressure, sometimes dramatically. Drink more water. Fluids increase blood volume and help prevent dehydration, both of which are important in treating hypotension. Wear compression stockings. Medications.

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The Effects Of Weight Training On Blood Pressure

Typically, when medical professionals tell you that you should exercise for high blood pressure, they mostly refer to cardio, so cardio has been extremely well studied. Strength training, on the other hand, not as much. Nonetheless, over the last couple of decades, the research on strength/weight training has been mounting, and a lot of questions are being answered.

Although there is more research available on aerobic exercise , and theres more agreement between studies, with weight training, there is some conflicting research. Yet, in the studies that show a positive effect on blood pressure from weight training, the drops are larger than with cardio.

In one study, a group of elderly people with high blood pressure exercised under 2 different conditions. In one condition, they did weight training with 50% of their maximal weight, and in the second condition, they exercised at 80% of the maximal weight. The exercises were identical. When they exercised at 50% of their maximum, their blood pressure was reduced by 23/7 mmHg. But at 80%, their blood pressure was reduced by 33/15.

Heres another cool effect of weight training: according to some studies , even in the cases when strength training doesnt decreased blood pressure at rest, it does minimize the rise in blood pressure during cardio.

Original source: here.

Again, its still in its infancy, and much more research is necessary, but for a very small time investment, the payoff in results can be very impressive.

See Your Doctor Regularly

#MondayMotivation: This Simple Cardio Workout Can Help ...

When you have been sedentary, overweight, or have a high risk of coronary heart disease or other chronic health problem, you must have your doctor’s approval before starting a fitness program. Have your blood pressure measured by a health care professional. They can advise you as to how often to have it rechecked.

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Chair Exercises For Blood Pressure

If you have mobility problems or find it difficult to get out and about, then chair-based exercises can be great way to be active.

Classes are available around the country and can be cheap or even free.

These exercises avoid putting unwanted strain on the hips, legs or arms, making them ideal for people with arthritis or osteoporosis, or who have had back, knee or hip surgery. Because they gently build up your fitness, they are suitable if you are starting from the very beginning.

How can chair-based exercises help?The exercises are a series of stretches, movements and activities that raise your heart rate and make your arm and leg muscles stronger and more flexible. This may help you to become more mobile and steady on your feet, and can improve your posture. Over time they may lower your blood pressure and help you to lose weight or keep to a healthy weight.

What happens in a chair-based exercise class?The classes tend to last for one hour. They normally start with 10 minutes of warm-up, followed by 40 minutes of activities and then a 10-minute warm-down of rhythmic movements.

The chairs are often arranged in a circle with your instructor in the middle. You will start with a range of stretches in your chair to improve the flexibility of your shoulders and joints and to gently raise your heart rate.

You can find a local chair-based class online or by asking your GP. There are also online videos that you could follow from home.

How Often Should You Exercise

Go for moderate activity, like brisk walking, at least 30 minutes a day, at least 5 days a week. If youâre short on time, vigorous activity, like jogging, gives you the same benefit in 20 minutes, 3 to 4 days a week.

If youâre not active today, gradually work up to this amount of exercise. If it takes you a few weeks to get there, thatâs absolutely fine.

First, warm up. A 5- to 10-minute warm-up helps your body get moving and helps prevent injury.

Next, step up the intensity. Don’t overdo it — you should still be able to talk to someone while you’re exercising. But if youâre able to sing, step it up a bit to make sure youâre getting the most out of your exercise.

Lastly, cool down. When you’re done exercising, don’t stop suddenly. Just slow down for a few minutes. This is especially important for someone with high blood pressure.

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Isometric Exercise: Effective And Easy

Many people have never heard of isometric exercise, yet it can be very effective for reducing blood pressure. In fact, simple handgrip exercises can lower your systolic number by a whopping 10 points!

Isometric exercise involves enabling a muscle to contract without shortening. If you hold a tennis ball and squeeze it, you are performing an isometric exercise, as the muscles of your arm contract but dont shorten the way they would if you were to pick up a dumbbell and perform a biceps curl. The most-studied type of isometric exercise is handgrip isometrics. This technique is similar to the tennis ball example, only a special device is used.

How Often: Your health care provider will be happy to provide specifics about how to start and structure an isometric exercise program for blood pressure control.

Top Activities That Lower Blood Pressure

Exercises to Lower Blood Pressure

Once you discover activities that lower blood pressure that works for you, it can be life-changing. I had gestational hypertension in the last trimester of my pregnancy with my two older kids. Thankfully, that went away after I gave birth to them. However, an unexpected pregnancy 8 years after the last birth resulted in pre-eclampsia. I was diagnosed with hypertension in the first trimester, with symptoms like headaches, vomiting, nausea, and increased heart rate. And after I gave birth, I was extremely disappointed that my hypertension became a chronic condition at 36 years old.

Thankfully, my cardiologist managed to lower my medication, so instead of taking three pills a day, we were able to reduce it to one maintenance medication. I read up on the issue and felt comforted somehow with the knowledge that I was not alone. According to the World Health Organization, around 1.28 billion adults globally between 30 to 79 years old have hypertension.

Unfortunately, hypertension is dubbed a silent killer because most people are unaware that they have the problem. Some experience no warning signs or feel tolerable symptoms which they attribute to fatigue until they eventually experience a stroke or heart attack. Thus, getting your blood pressure taken regularly is essential. Lets find out more about this alarming health condition and learn ways to lower your blood pressure:

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Limit Alcohol: 4 Points

If you drink, stop at one drink a day for women or two for men.

The information in this post first appeared in the January 2018 issue of Nutrition Action Healthletter.

Find this article interesting and useful?Order a copy of Safe & Easy Steps to Lower Your Blood Pressure. Nine out of 10 Americans will eventually have high blood pressure and, with it, an increased risk of stroke, heart attack, diabetes, dementia, and more. Eating the right diet, losing weight, and exercising can keep your pressure under control. And, if you do have hypertension, it can lower your pressure as much asor more thanprescription drugs. This booklet, from the editors of Nutrition Action, shows you how.

Have a comment, question, or idea?Send us an email at . While we cant respond to every email, well be sure to read your message.

Wrapping Up The Easy Exercises To Lower Blood Pressure

Give these easy exercises a try to help lower your blood pressure. You can pick one or try them all on different days. The idea is to get your body moving and elevate your heart rate. Research has shown lifestyle improvements are beneficial for your health and blood pressure.

The U.S. department of Health and Human Services recommends at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes per week of vigorous. They say its best to spread out your exercise time instead of doing it all at once 9.

Spend less time sitting and get moving. Even light-intensity activity can offset some of the risks of being inactive. After starting off easy, you can always increase the amount and intensity over time. Dont forget to consult with your physician.

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Understanding Your Blood Sugar And Exercise

The effect physical activity has on your blood sugar will vary depending on how long you are active and many other factors. Physical activity can lower your blood sugar up to 24 hours or more after your workout by making your body more sensitive to insulin.

Become familiar with how your blood sugar responds to exercise. Checking your blood sugar level more often before and after exercise can help you see the benefits of activity. You also can use the results of your blood sugar checks to see how your body reacts to different activities. Understanding these patterns can help you prevent your blood sugar from going too high or too low.

Low Blood Pressure Causes

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Before starting any new exercise program, it is important to have the cause of your low blood pressure properly diagnosed. According to U.S. National Library of Medicine , hypotension could be caused by dehydration, heart failure, nerve damage from diabetes and changes in heart rhythm. Alcohol consumption can also be a factor, as well as certain medications like diuretics, painkillers and antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs.

Your blood pressure can also drop when you change positions too quickly, a condition called orthostatic hypotension. NLM notes that this type of low blood pressure usually lasts only a few seconds or minutes.

Once your doctor has diagnosed the underlying problem, then the correct exercise program can be developed.

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