Exercises To Help Lower Blood Pressure
If you have high blood pressure, your doctor might recommend getting more exercise. While medication can help manage your blood pressure, exercise is an excellent way to help lower your blood pressure by making your heart stronger and maintaining a healthy weight.
Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy
Why Does My Blood Pressure Drop After Exercise
Sometimes after a workout, blood can pool in the extremities, which results in less blood returning to the heart and a decrease in blood pressure. Also, the blood vessels near the skin surface widen to help release heat, causing a drop in blood pressure as well. Let your healthcare provider know if you feel dizzy or lightheaded during exercise, as it could indicate an underlying condition.
How Much Exercise Is Enough
It is possible that with regular exercise, high blood pressure can be prevented or controlled. Sometimes moderate-level aerobic activities, such as brisk walking for 30 minutes a day, may be enough to decrease or eliminate medications. Exercise definitely can help medications work more effectively. Exercise itself can reduce blood pressure readings by as much as 5-15 mmHg. A gradual increase in the intensity of the workout is best for safety and effectiveness of lowering your blood pressure.
You May Like: What Animal Has The Highest Blood Pressure
How Much Exercise Should Someone With High Blood Pressure Do
Following the guidelines for adults set out by the NHS is a good foundation for lowering blood pressure.
So for someone brisk walking, half an hour a day, five days a week is a good place to start and gradually build up from. Someone might then increase this to an hour a day, and then later try a portion of their walking regime into a slow jog.
As Professor MacGregor explains:
An adult should have 30 minutes of moderate exercise five times a week. Moderate exercise should be enough to make you feel warmer and breathe harder, but you should still be able to talk without panting between words.
If youre training with a partner, they can help you determine how intense your current activity level is by initiating a talk test, and vice versa. Someone performing moderate intensity exercise will still be able to hold a conversation .
The main thing is to be active,Professor MacGregor adds,whether its walking more and not using the car for short journeys, taking the stairs and not the lift or getting off the bus one stop earlier. Remember, you can take further action yourself to lower your blood pressure by eating less salt, more fruit and vegetables and being a healthy weight.
You can find more information on exercising with high blood pressure, as well as a range of other helpful resources, over on the Blood Pressure UK website.
Things To Remember Before You Begin
Before you explore the exercises to lower blood pressure, you need to prepare yourself mentally. Start by practicing some self-motivational talking with yourself to reassure you that you will get there and accomplish your goals.
That said, you will have to develop good habits, and drop a few bad ones along the way.
Also Check: Blood Pressure Mayo Clinic
What Are The Best Exercises For High Blood Pressure
When it comes to high blood pressure and exercise, aerobic activity is recommended for lowering blood pressure, but stretching and strength-building exercises are important as well.
Much depends on the condition of the person at the start, but moderate cardiovascular exercise with slow cool downs for someone who has not been sedentary is a good place to start, says Dr. Doroba. She recommends walking and even some more intense aerobic activities such as jogging and swimming.
As for strength training, Dr. Doroba recommends avoiding heavy weights that cause a Valsalva response . A balanced programincluding aerobic exercise, strength training, and stretchingshould be part of everyones program and can help those with hypertension improve their cardiovascular health, she says. Just start where you feel comfortable, perhaps slightly challenged, and progress.
Those with high blood pressure dont need to avoid exercise, but should be cognizant of when they are over-exerting themselves. Exercising regularly contributes to lower blood pressure, Dr. Chandra says. However, we recommend avoidance of moderate-high intensity exercise if blood pressure is expected to rise above 190 mmHg at peak exercise.
So, how can you tell if you are overexerting yourself during exercise? Some signs to watch out for include:
- Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
Exercise And Blood Pressure: How Are They Linked
In short, blood pressure is an indicator of how much force the heart needs to beat with in order to get blood moving around the body. A blood pressure reading is given as two numbers: systolic over diastolic . Someone with two consecutive readings higher than 140/90 is categorised as having high blood pressure, and is at increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
Inactivity is often a contributing factor in high blood pressure. So, when treating hypertension, a doctor may well encourage someone who leads a sedentary lifestyle to try and raise their activity levels.
The heart is a muscle, and aerobic exercise helps to keep it healthy and functioning normally. When someone exercises, their heart will beat faster and with more force and when they stop, their heart rate will return to normal. Over time, if someone with high blood pressure continues to exercise regularly, their resting heart rate will gradually decrease, because their heart will become stronger and more efficient at pumping blood. This means that their heart wont have to pump with as much force, and their blood pressure will lower.
Don’t Miss: What Causes Blood Pressure
Pace Yourself To Avoid Injury
When you are new to exercise, you must pace yourself. Go low intensity and enjoy the ride up! Try yoga, cycling , gardening, mall walking, water aerobics, or moderate swimming. Increase the intensity and duration gradually as you become more fit. Your body and your blood pressure will both be in more ideal condition.
Exercises To Help Lower Blood Pressure Cleveland Clinic
If you have high blood pressure, your doctor may recommend that you exercise more. Although medications can help control your blood pressure, exercise is a great way to help lower your blood pressure by strengthening your heart and maintaining a healthy weight.
Cleveland Clinic is a nonprofit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Politics
Laura Gray, Clinical Exercise Physiologist, ACSM-CEP, MS, explains why exercise is good for those with high blood pressure, what activities to try and how to stay motivated.
Recommended Reading: Vinegar For Blood Pressure
What To Do When Exercise Isnt Enough
As youve heard a million times, you cant out-exercise a bad diet. Thats especially true regarding heart health. Too much boozethats two drinks a day for men one daily for womenespecially binge drinking, can raise your blood pressure, as can too much salt if youre sodium sensitive .
Eating a Mediterranean-style diet rich in fruits and vegetables, olive oil, nuts, fish, and whole grains and low in processed foods and red meat can be particularly helpful for lowering diastolic blood pressure, research shows.
If your genetic hand isnt exactly all aces, you might find yourself with elevated blood pressure despite your best diet and exercise habits. If thats the case, your doctor can help you bring it down with medication.
Some meds can make exercise harder or interfere with your training, so work carefully with your doctor to find the right drug and dosage that works best for you, Creswell says.
There are a variety of medications available, and its an art and science to find the right one for each person, he says.
Beta blockers lower blood pressure as well as heart rate and exercise capacity and are often bothersome for athletes, he says. Generally speaking, athletes should also avoid diuretics, since they can cause dehydration and raise your risk of heat-related illness. ACE-inhibitors and calcium channel blockers are probably the most prescribed choices in the athletic population, Creswell says.
What Causes Increases In Blood Pressure
Even if youre being treated for high blood pressure, your pressures will still rise after exercising. Walking, taking the stairs, and even lifting or moving supplies can all cause your blood pressure to increase.
How much your pressure rises depends on how high it is to begin with and how conditioned your cardiovascular system is.
The better shape you’re in, the less your blood pressure will rise with increased physical activity. People who are out of shape will have the same blood pressure increase with much less physical activity than people who have good cardiovascular health.
Also Check: Calibrating Omron Blood Pressure Monitor
Hypertension: Reduce Blood Pressure Through Exercise
People suffering from high blood pressure are usually advised to adopt a healthier lifestyle. In addition to reducing possible excess weight, not smoking, limiting alcohol consumption and a balanced diet, this also includes sufficient exercise. Here are some tips from an expert on some simple activities people can try.
Exercise is a great way to lower your blood pressure. Cardio and strength training in particular can strengthen your heart and help maintain a healthy weight. In a recent article from the renowned Cleveland Clinic , clinical exercise physiologist Laura Gray explains why exercise is good for people with high blood pressure and which activities they should try.
Something Is Better Than Nothing
Always remember every little helps. Being inactive is not good for your health as people with a sedentary lifestyle are more prone to health problems such as heart disease, strokes, diabetes, etc. A simple 15-minute brisk walk a day can help reduce stress and control weight, hence contributing to lowering your blood pressure.
Doing an extensive workout once a week is no good either spread out your activities throughout the week. A 30-minute exercise daily is far more effective than a grueling 2 hours workout once-a-week.
Also Check: Calibrate Blood Pressure Monitor Omron
How Does Exercise Affect Your Blood Pressure
Answer itexerciseyour blood pressurephysical activitycause your blood pressurefor atheyour blood pressure
Correspondingly, what exercise is good for lowering high blood pressure?
Can exercise reduce BP?
hypertensionphysical activity canblood pressuretoexerciseto lower blood pressurecanreduce blood pressure140/90
Is Exercise Good For High Blood Pressure
Exercise, in general, can help manage your blood pressure. If you have high blood pressure, exercise can even help lower it. How? Exercising regularly helps manage your weight, keeps your heart healthy and decreases stress.
Additionally, working exercise into your lifestyle, along with eating a healthy diet, can help lower your blood pressure and prevent more serious medical conditions.
High blood pressure can lead to stroke, heart attack, heart failure and even kidney issues, says Gray.
So, if youre ready to lace up your sneakers, make sure to keep a few things in mind.
You have to be mindful of your breathing, she advises. Make sure youre not holding your breath while working out or doing a breathing method called the Valsalva maneuver, which is where you hold your breath during weightlifting, for example.
Focusing on breath control will help eliminate a significant elevation in blood pressure, says Gray.
Another thing to be mindful of is incorporating a 5- to 10-minute warmup and cool down. For example, you can ride a bike, walk on the treadmill, walk around a track or take a stroll around your neighborhood to warm up or cool down.
Don’t Miss: Can High Blood Pressure Cause Nerve Damage
When Might Exercise Be Unsafe For Someone With High Blood Pressure
The heart will need to work harder during physical activity, in order to get blood and oxygen to the muscles being worked. As such, exercise can temporarily increase blood pressure and heart rate, which is why some people with high blood pressure will need to be careful about the exercise they do.
Those with hypertension who want to lower their blood pressure through exercise then should speak to their doctor before starting, to ensure that the activities they intend to undertake are the most suitable. In some cases, a healthcare professional may want to use medication to try and bring blood pressure under control before recommending exercise.
Professor MacGregor advises that those with very high blood pressure should not start a new activity without first speaking to their doctor.
Every individual is different, but Blood Pressure UK recommends that those whose blood pressure is:
- between 140/90 and 179/99 should be able to safely increase activity levels on their own
- between 180/100 and 199/109 should consult a doctor first
- over 200/110 should not undertake any new activity, and speak to their doctor for advice
How Much Exercise Do You Need To Lower Blood Pressure
Lifestyle changes can help to lower blood pressure along with any medications that your doctor may prescribe. One study found that even relatively modest increases in physical activity above sedentary levels can result in clinically significant decreases in blood pressure.
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, adults should aim to get at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity, or 75 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity for optimal health benefits, including lowering blood pressure. Several medical societies recommend at least 30 minutes of moderate daily exercise to be beneficial for blood pressure, weight loss, diabetes control, and heart health.
Along with exercise, diet can also have an impact on blood pressure. For those looking to lower their blood pressure, Dr. Chandra recommends theDASH eating plan, which emphasizes low sodium-based eating by relying on fresh foods, including vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean meats, low fat dairy, seeds, and nuts.
Exercise is one of the best ways to maintain a healthy blood pressure. Those with hypertension should consult with their doctor who can help direct them to an exercise routine that will fit their needs.
Recommended Reading: What Causes Irregular Blood Pressure
Being Inactive Is Bad For Your Health
People who aren’t physically active are much more likely to have health problems, like heart attack and stroke. On the other hand, regular physical activity helps to lower blood pressure, control weight and reduce stress.
For overall health benefits to the heart, lungs and circulation, get regular aerobic activity using the following guidelines:
- For most healthy people, get the equivalent of at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity physical activity, such as brisk walking.
- You can break up your weekly physical activity goal however you like. An easy plan to remember is 30 minutes a day on at least five days a week. But shorter sessions count, too.
- Physical activity should be spread throughout the week.
- Include flexibility and stretching exercises.
- Include muscle-strengthening activity at least two days each week.
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!
Read Also: Is Claritin Safe For High Blood Pressure
Is Any One Type Of Exercise Better For Blood Pressure Than Another
Because certain types of exercise can exponentially raise blood pressure, its important for people with hypertension to concentrate on those activities that will help them. Having high blood pressure should not mean that you shy away from physical exercise. In fact, quite the opposite.
Different kinds of exercise have different effects on your body.Professor MacGregor explains.If you have high blood pressure, you should try to focus on activities that will help your heart and blood vessels. Aerobic exercise is the type that helps your heart the most.
Moderate intensity aerobic exercise includes activities such as jogging, swimming and dancing.
Brisk walking also falls into this category, and is a helpful activity for people with high blood pressure to start with. It doesnt require a gym membership or any specialist equipment, apart from a good, sturdy pair of trainers. Brisk walking works the heart and lungs, and is beneficial for blood pressure and circulation but as a weight bearing exercise it also helps muscle and bone health.
Certain exercises, Professor MacGregor goes on to say, are not as helpful for those with high blood pressure.
For example, you should not do any activity that is very intensive for short periods of time.
Sprinting and lifting heavy weights are examples of this.
These kinds of exercises may quickly raise your blood pressure, and put unwanted strain on your heart and blood vessels.Professor MacGregor adds.
Find Something You Like
If you love the outdoors, combine it with exercise and enjoy the scenery while you walk or jog. If you love to listen to audiobooks, enjoy them while you use an elliptical machine.
These activities are especially beneficial when done regularly:
- Brisk walking, hiking or stair-climbing
- Jogging, running, bicycling, rowing or swimming
- Fitness classes at your appropriate level
- Activities such team sports, a dance class or fitness games
Also Check: Apple Watch 2 Blood Pressure
Why Is Exercise Not Good For The Patients High Blood Pressure
Ask U.S. doctors your own question and get educational, text answers â it’s anonymous and free!
Ask U.S. doctors your own question and get educational, text answers â it’s anonymous and free!
HealthTap doctors are based in the U.S., board certified, and available by text or video.
Is It Safe To Exercise If You Have High Blood Pressure
For most people, the answer is yes. If you have , you should be able to be more active quite safely. But to be on the safe side, its always a good idea to speak to your doctor or nurse before you start any new physical activity.
Physical activity will cause your blood pressure to rise for a short time. For most people, this is nothing to worry about, and when you stop the activity it should quickly return to normal.
If your blood pressure is relatively high, your doctor or nurse may prefer to lower it with before you start exercising. If its very high, avoid any new activity without talking to your doctor first.
Use the table below to get an idea of whether its safe to exercise, but speak to your doctor or nurse about whats safe for you.
Dont start any new activity visit your doctor or nurse as soon as possible
You May Like: Can Claritin Raise Blood Pressure