- Getting physically active can make a big difference when it comes to controlling your blood pressure.
- Activities like jogging, swimming, lifting weights or even doing household chores can significantly lower blood pressure while easing stress and making you feel better.
- Prior to starting a physical activity, know first the various types of exercise for you to know which activities to focus on and which to avoid.
Your risks of hypertension increase as you age. But getting physically active can make a big difference. Making exercise a part of your everyday routine can greatly reduce your blood pressure, give you energy, relieve stress and make you feel good.
Don’t think though that you’ve got to run a marathon or go to the gym. Instead, start slow adding more physical activities into your daily routine until you are breathing harder making your heart beat faster. Such activities may include brisk walking, jogging, swimming, biking, lifting weights, or doing chores like yard work.
Before starting, see your doctor first so that they make sure you are ready for exercise.
What exercise works best?
Before choosing which activity is best for you, first consider these two questions:
- What sounds like fun?
- Would you rather exercise in a group, or on your own?
Next, you should also know that the three main types of exercise essential for physical fitness are cardiovascular exercise, strength training and stretching.
All three kinds have different effects on your body. If you have high blood pressure, focus on aerobic activities and avoid activities which put too much strain on your heart.
- Cardiovascular exercise is rhythmic exercise that strengthens heart rate and improves blood pressure levels. It is often called aerobic because it requires you to use more oxygen. Examples include walking, jogging, jumping rope, bicycling (stationary or outdoor), cross-country skiing, skating, rowing, high- or low-impact aerobics, swimming, and water aerobics.
- Strength (or resistance) training builds up stronger muscles which aids in burning more calories. Strength training, which is good for your joints and bones, is also very important for maintaining muscle mass throughout your lifetime.
- Stretching makes you more limber, flexible, helps prevent injuries, reduces muscle tension, ramps up circulation and improves posture.
How much exercise do I need every day?
Aim for at least 30 minutes a day of moderate activity like brisk walking, at least 5 days weekly. For busybodies, try jogging for 20 minutes, 3 to 4 days a week. For those still starting to get active, slowly work this amount of exercise. Even if it takes a few weeks to get there, it’s okay, just be patient.
Tips to keep in mind during exercise
Warm up. A 5- to 10-minute warm-up prepares your body for exercise and lessens risks of injury.
Build up the intensity. Be careful not to overdo it. You’re doing it right if you can still talk to someone while exercising otherwise you need to step it up some more.
Cool down. For those with blood pressure, do not stop abruptly when you’re done exercising. Instead, slow down a bit for a few minutes before stopping.
Is It Safe to Exercise?
For most people, an active lifestyle is one of the best things to do to maintain healthy blood pressure levels. But to be on the safe side, it’s always good to ask your doctor before you start any new physical activity.
Aerobic exercise normally makes you breathe harder, sweat more, or make your heart beat faster. This is normal. It may take a while before your body gets used to it.
However, if you’re having shortness of breath or you feel your heart is beating too fast, slow down or take a rest.
Immediately stop exercising if you experience chest pains, dizziness, lightheadedness, weakness, pain in your neck, arm, jaw or shoulder.
If these symptoms persist or recur, call your doctor or seek emergency help right away.