High blood pressure (HBP) or hypertension is something nobody wants to think about, let alone want to happen to them. Many people avoid the conversation entirely, hoping that by so doing they’ll avoid this medical condition.

Unfortunately, that’s not how it works. Simply wishing it away or not thinking about it won’t keep it away, so you should focus on some practical methods you can use to reduce your chances of developing high blood pressure or to suppress it if you’re already hypertensive.

Proceeding, you’ll find out what high blood pressure means, if exercise can lower blood pressure, how to use exercise to lower blood pressure, how often you should exercise to lower blood pressure, and the best exercise to lower blood pressure.

WHAT IS HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE?

The blood vessels in your body (i.e. the arteries, capillaries, and veins) work tirelessly every day to supply blood to different parts of your body. The blood transports oxygen, glucose, amino acids and other necessary nutrients to various parts of the body that need them.

When blood is transported through the blood vessels, it exerts a force on the muscular walls of the blood vessels. This is what is known as blood pressure.

There are two parts to blood pressure:

  • Systolic blood pressure, which happens when the heart contracts to pump blood through the arteries. A healthy human should have a systolic pressure between 90 and 120 mmHg.
  • Diastolic blood pressure, which happens when the heart is at rest between beats. This is the lowest blood pressure value a human has in his/her body at all times. A healthy human should have diastolic blood pressure between 60 and 80 mmHg.

When these two readings are taken together (when you take a BP reading), a typical healthy reading should be less than 120/80 mmHg. 

High blood pressure happens when the blood vessels get clogged due to the growth of plaques on their muscular walls. This restriction to the flow of blood causes the heart to pump blood with more pressure, raising the diastolic and systolic pressures.

Some effects of high blood pressure include:

  • Heart attack, when oxygen-deprived cardiac muscle cells start to die;
  • Stroke, when blood vessels to the brain are clogged, completely shutting off blood flow to the brain.

CAN EXERCISE LOWER BLOOD PRESSURE?

The simple answer is yes. Regular endurance exercises like walking, jogging, and the like place a demand on your cardiovascular system, and that causes your heart to pump more blood with minimal effort. In other words, regular exercise strengthens your heart.

If your heart can pump blood without stress, then there is less force on your arteries, and that causes your blood pressure to decrease.

You do not need exercise to lower blood pressure only. If you do not have high blood pressure, you can reduce the risk of suffering this condition as you age by exercising constantly. However, it is important to note that these blood pressure exercises are not meant to be one-off. You must keep up with them constantly if you want to see and maintain improvements.

HOW DOES EXERCISE LOWER BLOOD PRESSURE?

Now that we have established that exercise can lower blood pressure, let us understand how this is done.

Exercise helps to reduce your weight.

If you are overweight, you have a higher risk of developing high blood pressure. Being overweight can also cause you to have sleep apnea (difficulty breathing while sleeping) which can lead to high blood pressure.

If you want to lose weight, you have to do some “blood pressure exercises,” typically aerobics and cardio exercise including long runs on the treadmill, swimming, jogging, etc. These exercises will help you burn calories quickly, which will lead to some weight loss, and in turn, lower your blood pressure.

Exercise improves the condition of your heart.

When you do exercises to lower blood pressure, your heart becomes stronger, which makes pumping of blood easier. When it becomes easier for your heart to supply blood to other parts of the body that need it, the systolic pressure will reduce, and that will lower your chances of having high blood pressure and all the dangerous health risks that come with it.

Now, let’s discover the best exercise to lower blood pressure.  

WHAT IS THE BEST EXERCISE TO LOWER BLOOD PRESSURE?

You don’t need to go to the gym to perform the exercise to lower blood pressure. You don’t need strenuous routines. The best exercise to lower blood pressure includes walking, jogging, swimming, running on the treadmill and other cardiovascular exercises, as well as everyday activities like tending to your garden, lawn-mowing and doing yard work!

While you may not need to go to the gym to perform all these exercises, going to the gym may make it easier for you to stay committed to the exercise routines which will make lowering your blood pressure much easier and faster.

Also, remember that you have to be consistent for a while before you see results, and stopping your blood pressure exercises could cause it to rise again. If you don’t want that to happen, you must find a way to make exercising your lifestyle.

HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOU EXERCISE?

You can do moderate exercise to lower blood pressure like walking or swimming at least 30 minutes a day for 5 to 6 days every week. If you do faster and tougher routines like jogging or cycling, then you can get the same effect and results by doing them for 20 minutes a day for 3 to 4 days every week.

Before you start exercising, you must get a go-ahead from your doctor, depending on the state of your health. Also, do not do weight-lifting unless your doctor says it’s okay.

CONCLUSION

The effects of exercise are boundless if you wish to lower your blood pressure or prevent high blood pressure in the first place. For that reason, make exercise your lifestyle by making it fun, and perhaps joining a group of exercise fanatics just like you so that you can keep your blood pressure at regular levels and maintain sound health at all times.