High blood pressure or hypertension is a dreaded diagnosis for many people as it is dubbed as the “silent killer.”
Lowering your blood pressure is not all about taking all those pills and eating bland foods. In fact, there’s more you should do!
To lower your blood pressure effectively, you will need to include exercise as part of your high blood pressure management. Don’t fret. It is never too late to start!
In this post, you will learn different kinds of easy exercises that will lower your blood pressure. Let’s dive in!
Why is exercise important for healthy blood pressure?
Your physician will most likely advise you to try to become more active to lower your blood pressure.
Studies support that increasing your physical activity will keep your heart and blood vessels in a healthy condition. Thus, it is proven to lower your risk of having heart diseases and stroke.
Exercising has several health benefits. It gives you more energy boost, improves your mood and cognitive function.
But that’s not all. It also allows you to keep your joints muscles moving as it helps strengthen your bones and improves your balance.
In this way, you get to stay active and independent as you age.
When you exercise regularly, it is expected that your heart rate and breathing rates will increase to a healthier level.
Over time, your heart can become stronger as it pumps with less effort. As a result, it lessens the pressure on your arteries as your blood pressure lowers.
Your next question in mind would be: “How much effort do you need to exert to significantly decrease my blood pressure?”
According to experts, you are advised to exert a moderate- to vigorous physical activity 3 to 4 times a week for 40-minute per session.
However, if you find it hard to achieve 40 minutes of exercise at one time, the American Heart Association recommends that you can divide the time into three or four segments at 10 to 15 minutes per segment.
Exercises that lowers blood pressure
A study found that older adults who have always been sedentary most of their lives had lowered blood pressure when they participated in aerobic exercise training.
The result shows a drop in their systolic and diastolic reading at an average of 3.9 percent and 4.5 percent, respectively.
In a 2014 review, various combinations of exercises can help you lower your blood pressure:
In exercising, we don’t necessarily have to require you to train for a marathon.
Before you do anything, please let your physician know about your plans for exercising, especially hypertension.
This way, they can be more specific with their medical advice and identify which kind of exercise will suit your health condition.
You can choose easy exercises, as mentioned below:
1. Brisk walking
A 12-week pilot study reported some compelling results. Brisk walking on various intensities significantly reduces the risk of heart-related diseases among elderly patients with high blood pressure.
If you want to brisk walk, you can break up your workout time into several sessions for the day.
Whether you jog outdoors or on a treadmill, that’s fine as long as you get yourself sweating! (If you have a tendency for excessive sweating, here are ideas to help).
Jogging is an aerobic exercise that will help you lower your blood pressure.
Take note when you jog outdoors, always ensure your safety and bring a friend. Other saftey tips to keep in mind:
- Jog in familiar routes
- Avoid secluded areas
- Wear comfortable clothing and shoes
- Face oncoming traffic when you jog, and
- Carry your reflective gears when you choose to jog at night.
3. Climbing the stairs
Simple things as climbing the stairs can also help you lower your blood pressure.
In an experiment conducted on postmenopausal women with stage 2 hypertension, it was found that stair climbing helps reduce arterial stiffness and blood pressure.
A study revealed that regular aerobic exercises like cycling can significantly reduce blood pressure, aside from HbA1c and weight. This can help one adhere to lifestyle interventions.
Cycling can be fun, especially when you love the outdoors.
Make sure to choose the right bike, get geared up, gather your friends to join you, and just simply have fun!
Swimming makes your heart and lungs work. Also, you get your arms, legs, and other muscle groups moving too!
Swimming exercises train your body to utilize oxygen more efficiently as it helps decline your breathing rate and resting heart rate.
At the same time, swimming strengthens your muscles and makes your body more flexible.
According to a study, swimming significantly reduces arterial blood pressure among individuals with hypertension.
If you’re bored out of the land-based exercises, then go take a plunge in the pool!
6. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) has become a popular and trendy exercise nowadays.
HIIT comes in various forms of short but intense workouts done before rest or a low-intensity exercise.
Studies suggest that doing HIIT comes with beneficial effects in effectively preventing and controlling high blood pressure.
The exercise is done for about less than 45 seconds to a few minutes.
After that, one should rest or do a light intensity exercise for a similar time frame. Then, the sequence is repeated.
The entire HIIT exercise usually takes 15–20 minutes. This is a practical and useful approach for individuals who cannot consistently commit to longer exercise sessions.
Related: How to do HIIT safely.
7. Your favorite sports
Exercise and get sweaty with the sports you love! Choose sports related to aerobic activities such as running, swimming, cross-country, skating, skiing, rowing, volleyball, tennis, and more!
Research recommends that people with high blood pressure should choose the sports they are inclined to and make sure to do it at a competitive level.
To be eligible for competitive sports activities, one must undergo a careful medical evaluation.
Besides that, dancing is one of the most enjoyable exercises; it can lower your blood pressure.
And, you might even want to join a dance therapy! Dance therapy is used as part of cardiovascular rehabilitation.
In a meta-analysis study, people with hypertension who have participated in dance therapy have shown positive effects on their systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure.
Take your exercise to the higher altitude, and maybe you can find time to explore the mountains!
In a 3-week study, subjects who participated in hiking at moderate or low altitudes showed significant improvements in their systolic and diastolic readings.
They also improved their mean arterial pressures and circadian heart rate profiles. Hence, hiking can also be beneficial to your cardiovascular health.
10. Weight training
Also known as resistance training, when done correctly, it can also be a part of an exercise program for people with hypertension.
Studies conclude that weight training is effective in reducing resting systolic and diastolic BP in adults.
Your blood pressure response depends on the amount of muscle mass you have, your breathing technique, the amount of resistance you lifted, the number of repetitions you have done, and your lifting speed.
Besides taking your medicines and eating a healthy diet, it is highly recommended to include exercise in managing your blood pressure.
Doing various aerobic exercises, weight training, and High-Intensity Interval Training can help lower blood pressure.
Listen to your body and know when to stop so that you can avoid accidents and injuries.
Before jumping to any kind of exercise, it is best to talk to your doctor before starting any activity type.