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How Does Exercise Affect Blood Pressure

Blood Pressure Responses During Exercise

Exercise & Fitness Tips : How Does Aerobic Exercise Affect Blood Pressure?

During dynamic exercise, cardiac output increases dramatically to ensure adequate perfusion to the working musculature. This increase is achieved by a withdrawal of parasympathetic tone , an increase in sympathetic activity and pronounced vasoconstriction of the venous vasculature . In parallel, the need for increased blood flow and oxygen delivery to the exercising muscle is achieved through regional vasodilation of those arterioles supplying blood to the exercising tissue in combination with a vasoconstriction of arterioles, which perfuse non-essential tissues. Although the mechanism of vasodilation at the onset of exercise is not fully understood, many compounds have been implicated in the exercise induced changes. Contraction of the active muscle mass also assists in returning blood towards the heart. This muscle pump effect further increases venous return and stroke volume.

Figure 1

Mean blood pressure responses to endurance exercise and resistance exercise . Data from MacDonald et al.

The New Guidelines On High Blood Pressure

Under the old guidelines, you had to have a blood pressure reading of 140 or 90 mmHg . The former number is systolic pressure, the maximum pressure of a heartbeat The latter is diastolic pressure, the pressure between beats. Thirty-two percent of Americans exceeded one or both of the old pressure figures. But now, the American Heart Association segments hypertension into stage one , and stage two . Pescatello says that the new guidelines are meant to increase awareness of the problem of high blood pressure. Most of these people with hypertension who do hit the lower threshold can be treated with a lifestyle intervention, such as physical activity and dietary changes, she says.

Even if youre active every day, you could still be at risk for hypertension. Fixed risk factors, according to the AHA, include psychosocial stress, premature birth, low birth weight, chronic kidney disease, family history, increased age, low socioeconomic status, male sex, and obstructive sleep apnea. For people with hypertension, Pescatello recommends a home blood pressure monitor, which can cost less than $100. It can tell you a lot of good information about your own blood pressure, she says, which you can share with a physician when you go in for your yearly physical.

Exercise is shown to lower blood pressure. Check out Aaptivs workouts here.

Heart Rate During Exercise

Resting heart rate is normally 60 to 80 beats per minute but is often lower in trained athletes. Heart rate increases as you exercise to deliver more blood and oxygen to your working muscles. Intense exercise causes a steeper increase in your heart rate than moderate exercise. People who don’t exercise regularly tend to have higher heart rates with physical exertion than those who are fit. Being in the heat, feeling dehydrated, having a high body mass index and getting up in years also tend to cause your heart to beat faster during exercise. After you finish exercising, your heart rate remains high for a few minutes as you recover. The more fit you are, the quicker your heart rate returns resting level.

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Ten Minutes Of Brisk Or Moderate Walking Three Times A Day

Exercise lowers blood pressure by reducing blood vessel stiffness so blood can flow more easily. The effects of exercise are most noticeable during and immediately after a workout. Lowered blood pressure can be most significant right after you work out.

So, health professionals theorize, the ideal way to combat high blood pressure might be to break up your workout into several sessions throughout the day. In fact, one study found that three 10-minute walks a day more effectively prevented future blood pressure spikes than one 30-minute trek per day.

Does Exercise Raise Blood Pressure

High blood pressure

Exercise and physical activity in general is good for your health. Over time, a regimen of cardiovascular workouts helps you maintain healthy blood pressure levels. Because of the nature of exertion, though, your blood pressure increases somewhat during exercise, depending on the intensity of your workout and your overall health.

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Reduced Vascular Sensitivity/nitric Oxide

There is some evidence to suggest that an exercise induced decrease in vascular sensitivity may be responsible for PEH. Although Landry et al was the first to suggest that variations in vascular sensitivity after exercise may be responsible for the observed drop in blood pressure in humans, much of the evidence was derived from other species. In excised rabbit aortic rings, reduced -adrenergic mediated isometric tension was observed following exercise. In a separate study using rats, increased iliac blood flow was demonstrated to be mediated by decreased adrenergic receptor sensitivity. Although no PEH was observed in that study and the reduced sensitivity could be related to numerous factors, inhibition of nitric oxide attenuated the decreased sensitivity after exercise, suggesting that nitric oxide may be partly responsible for the decreased sensitivity post exercise. Using ganglionic blocked, intact, Dahl salt-sensitive rats, Van Ness et al found an exercise induced attenuation in blood pressure responsiveness to the -adrenergic agonist phenylephrine that persisted until the cessation of measurement at 30min post infusion. Reduced vascular responsiveness in humans requires further study, but remains an interesting possibility.

How Exercise Affects Blood Pressure

Since 1988, Pescatellos research has focused on the acute, or daily, effects of exercise on blood pressure. In 1991, she published her breakthrough study, which found that that participants blood pressure was lower on days when they exercised. The effect, called post-exercise hypotension, reduced mean arterial pressure for 12.7 hours for people with high blood pressure. For those with hypertension, 30 minutes of cycling lowered blood pressure for the entire day.

Post-exercise hypotension also mediates daily blood pressure spikes. Its called circadian variation, Pescatello says. Blood pressure will be highest in the morning upon waking, and spikes during the day have to do with a surge in sympathetic nervous stimulation or arousal. Basically, our stressorsproblems at work, conflicts with partners, a long line at Starbuckswont raise our blood pressure as much if weve exercised that morning.

Blood pressure will return to baseline the following day, but continuous daily exercise is what lowers blood pressure in the long run. Structural adaptations begin to happen that will lower blood pressure, due to exercise training, Pescatello says. Those changes have been shown to happen within three to five days. Over a period of months, exercise can lower the average persons blood pressure by five to eight mmHg. If your blood pressure is 134/82, she says, by exercise alone, youre going to get out of the hypertensive range.

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What Are The Symptoms Of High Blood Pressure

Unfortunately, there are no specific and overt symptoms of high blood pressure.

It is for this very reason that hypertension is often called the silent killer, Dr. Singh says.

Though hypertension in and of itself is asymptomatic, if left untreated, it can lead to organ damage. From there, different diseases can develop with harmful symptoms.

Common examples include chest pain associated with heart attacks or weakness and dizziness that occur during strokes, Dr. Singh says.

How Does Cardiovascular Exercise Affect Your Heart

How Does Exercise Affect Blood Pressure? – Lowering Blood Pressure At Home

When performing cardio, blood flow is directed toward working muscles and away from areas that aren’t doing much . There is increased blood flow, and blood volume returning to the heart.

As the heart registers a larger blood volume, over time the left ventricle adapts and enlarges. This larger cavity can hold more blood, and ejects more blood per beat, even at rest.

More: Calculate your Target Heart Rate.

Over time, with chronic cardio training, our resting heart rate drops because each beat delivers a bigger burst of blood, and fewer beats are needed. This takes work off your heart and is why cardio exercise is recommended for heart health.

However, cardiovascular exercise can also produce stress. If we get into over-training, we may hit a point where we are drowning in cortisol. This eventually leads to immune-suppression and fat gain around the abdomen and face.

People who spend a significant part of their day in stress, who have poor digestion or other sources of physiological stress, should not further their stress levels by overtraining. Always think of your goals, moderate your exercise if necessary, and work to reduce your stress levels.

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Why Is My Diastolic High But Systolic Normal

Isolated systolic hypertension is when your systolic blood pressure is high, but your diastolic blood pressure is normal. It can occur naturally with age or can be caused by a variety of health conditions including anemia and diabetes. ISH should still be treated even though your diastolic pressure is normal.

Does Exercise Lower Diastolic Blood Pressure

All four exercise groups demonstrated significant reductions in both systolic and diastolic BP at rest. The magnitude of reductions in systolic BP was greater in the 61 to 90 min/wk group compared with the 30 to 60 min/wk group. There were no greater reductions in systolic BP with further increases in exercise volume.

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How Does Being Active Help Lower Your Blood Pressure

Being active by keeping your heart and blood vessels in good shape, lowering your risk of and . If you have high blood pressure, your doctor or nurse will probably suggest that you try to become more active to lower it.

It has countless other benefits too. Exercise strengthens the bones and improves balance. It keeps your muscles and joints moving which can help keep you active and independent in later life.

It can give you more energy and lift your mood, and even improve your cognitive function.

A Note About Hot Tubs And Saunas

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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

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Increasing Physical Activity And Exercise

Many people have jobs that involve sitting for long periods. In their free time, a person may also prefer sedentary activities, such as watching television or playing computer games. Some studies have found a link between a sedentary lifestyle and hypertension.

One of the best ways to prevent or resolve hypertension is to be as physically active as possible.

A investigated the immediate effects of exercise on blood pressure. The analysis, which included 65 studies, found that blood pressure readings were significantly lower following exercise.

This reduction was greater in:

  • males
  • people who were already physically active
  • people who did not take medication to control hypertension

Physical activity can also help with losing weight, and losing of body weight can help lower blood pressure, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

In terms of the intensity of exercise, have found that intense and moderate physical activity are equally effective at reducing blood pressure. This means that a person may still benefit from shorter or less intense exercise sessions.

While any amount of physical activity is helpful, the official recommendations for adults are:

Aerobic activity, such as walking or running:

  • A person should do at least 150â300 minutes of moderate activity or 75â150 minutes of vigorous activity per week.

Muscle strengthening:

  • A person should work to strengthen all major muscle groups on 2 or more days per week.

What Should My Blood Pressure Be After Exercise

To understand what your blood pressure responses should be after physical activity, you should know what your blood pressure is under normal circumstances.

90 or higher

Blood pressure goes up during and immediately after exercise, as your heart works hard to get blood pumped to muscles. Usually, youll only see a rise in the systolic number, while the diastolic number stays relatively the same or decreases slightly. How high blood pressure increases and how long it stays there is individual, but on average, it should return to normal in just a few minutes.

If you want to measure your blood pressure changes after exercise, you can purchase a blood pressure cuff to use at home. Dr. Shah recommends waiting until your heart rate returns to normal. Your normal heart rate, or pulse, is the number of times the heart beats per minute at rest. Find your pulse and count the number of beats for 60 seconds when you first wake up. This is your baseline heart rate. The same factors that are driving your heart rate up are also raising your blood pressure, notes Dr. Shah. I recommend waiting about five minutes after exercise and then checking your blood pressure.

So, how much can exercise actually lower your blood pressureand for how long? A lot depends on the type of exercise you do , how long you do it, your exercise intensity, your overall physical condition, and your normal blood pressure at rest.

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What Happens To Diastolic Blood Pressure As Exercise Intensity Increases

With most types of training there is minimal change in diastolic blood pressure. Blood pressure changes with incremental exercise are shown on the following diagram. The higher the intensity of exercise, the greater the rise in heart rate will be, and consequently the larger the increase in systolic blood pressure.

How Does Exercise Affect Blood Pressure

How does exercise affects blood pressure?

Blood pressure is one of the most important attributes that indicate the general health of a person, irrespective of his or her age group. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has claimed that 120/80 mm Hg is the normal blood pressure which includes both the systolic and the diastolic readings. With the constant increase in the number of people being affected by high blood pressure, preventing hypertension has become a primary global public health challenge due to the prediction of 60% increase in the number of people being affected by hypertension by 2025 . A persons blood pressure may normally increase during any physical activity especially during exercise and physical exertion. Exercising seems to have a direct effect on your systolic blood pressure which is the reading of the blood vessel pressure at the time your heartbeats. The diastolic blood pressure indicates at the pressure in the vessels between the heartbeats. This does not change much at the time of exercising. In case it does, it is a matter of concern and you must consult your doctor at once. Let us now understand in details how exercise affects blood pressure.

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Does Peh Occur In All Individuals

PEH has been well documented in humans with both borderline hypertension,, and hypertension.,, However, its occurrence in normotensive humans is inconsistent. Although we have found that PEH can be detected in normotensive individuals, it was found to be much less consistent and of lesser magnitude than in hypertensive individuals. This may be due to other compensatory mechanisms, such as the baroreflex, that are activated in normotensive subjects, and prevent the degree of PEH from affecting orthostatic tolerance.

Although there are reports of gender differences in blood pressure and sympathetic nerve activity, PEH appears to be unaffected by gender, since gender specific, and mixed gender studies,,, have found similar degrees of hypotension. It also occurs independent of age, having been observed in young, middle aged and older adults. PEH/PSH has been documented in normotensive and spontaneously hypertensive rats, as well as Dahl salt-sensitive rats. Limited work suggests that PSH does not occur in Dahl salt-resistant or renal hypertensive rats. Given the inconsistency of the PEH response in normotensive humans, the lack of hypotension found in these animal studies is not unexpected. It has been suggested that the degree of PSH may be related to the genetic pre-disposition of the animal to hypertension. Further research is needed to examine the effects of genetic predisposition on PEH in the normotensive human population.

Building Activity Into Your Day

If the idea of doing exercise isnt for you, being more active in your day-to-day life can make a difference too.

Our lives are much less active than they used to be. More of us have desk jobs, we use cars and public transport to get around, and we have lots of labour-saving devices in our homes.

These simple steps will help you to be more active:

  • walk more each day, and dont use the car for short journeys
  • take the stairs instead of a lift or escalator
  • get off the bus one stop earlier
  • if possible, cycle or walk to work
  • take the dog out on longer walks
  • take a walk during your lunch hour
  • think about activities you have enjoyed before, and see if you can take part in them at a local centre

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What Factors Affect Diastolic Blood Pressure

The factors discussed are heart rate, arterial pressure, coronary perfusion pressure, the pericardium, and the mechanical interplay between ventricles. The influence of heart rate, arterial pressure, and coronary perfusion pressure can be considered as minor provided they remain within their normal physiological range.

Effect Of Aerobic Exercise On Diastolic Blood Pressure

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Diastolic blood pressure is the blood pressure when the heart is relaxing. It is the blood pressure of our artery walls between heart beats. Diastolic blood pressure is affected mainly by blood volume, stroke volume and heart rate.21

Stroke volume is the difference between end-diastolic volume and end-systolic volume . It is related by the following equation:


EDV is the volume of blood before the heart contracts and ESV is the volume of blood left in the heart after it contracts. Therefore, SV is the net volume of blood pumped out by the heart in 1 heart beat. During exercise, oxygen consumption increases, therefore the amount of blood needed to pump throughout the body also increases, therefore stroke volume increases during exercise.

During exercise, the temperature of the human body increases. When this happens, the body undergoes negative feedback by dilating the arteries in the body. Vasodilation happens to increase the blood supply to around the tissues and also to take away heat from the body. Therefore, during exercise, cardiac output increases whereas peripheral vascular resistance decreases due to vasodilation. Thus, this causes the diastolic blood pressure to remain fairly constant throughout, or decrease slightly.

From the experiment, the diastolic blood pressure decreases slightly over the course of exercise. As exercise was conducted, vasodilation could explain the lowering of diastolic blood pressure throughout the exercise.

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