Did you know that exercise is almost as effective as medicines for hypertension? Read on to understand how you can lower your blood pressure with exercise
We’ve heard doctors say that exercise is the next best thing after medicines and food to improve your health and keep illness at bay. But does exercising really work for hypertension? Learn more about how exercise improves heart health, the best exercises for high blood pressure, and the tips to get started.
What is the Effect of Exercise on Blood Pressure?
Regular physical activity helps in strengthening your heart, so your heart requires less effort to pump blood throughout your body. This relieves the pressure exerted by blood as it circulates in your arteries, which lowers your blood pressure. Exercise also helps prevent the narrowing of your arteries and improve circulation.
How Often Should People With High BP Exercise?
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), you should get at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise every day or 150 minutes of moderate activity every week. If you have high blood pressure, you can start with one 30 minute session or three 10-minute sessions of exercise spread throughout your day.
8 Best Exercises to Reduce High Blood Pressure
Walking is one of the easiest and most effective methods of exercise. It is also a great option if you are a beginner and not used to regular physical activity. Walking at a brisk pace (100 steps/minute) for 30 minutes or more every day can help lower your blood pressure, besides other health benefits.
Similar to walking, cycling for 30 to 45 minutes a day can lower your blood pressure along with helping you lose weight, strengthening your legs and lower body. If you don’t want the hassle of traffic and pollution, try cycling on a stationary bike in the comfort of your home.
Running or jogging for 20 minutes a day can improve your heart health. If you are not used to jogging, start with walking and add in a minute or two of jogging every five minutes.
If you don’t like the heat and sweat that comes with cycling or jogging, try swimming instead. It is just as effective in lowering your blood pressure, and also helps you build muscle strength and stamina.
Aerobics are also known as cardio exercises, and they raise your heart rate and breathing rate. This provides your lungs with more oxygen and improves blood circulation to your muscles. Aerobics also helps you improve your flexibility and endurance.
Make exercise fun! Join a dance class or Zumba session and dance your way to a healthier heart. Dancing for 45 to 60 minutes has the same blood pressure-lowering benefits as other traditional forms of exercise.
This favourite childhood pastime can help you lower your blood pressure in adulthood too. Jumping rope or skipping is a high-intensity exercise that requires only 15 minutes every day to improve your heart health. It is also a full-body workout that is good for weight loss too.
Playing Active Sports
You can make exercising a social event by incorporating active sports like football and basketball into your fitness routine. Along with reducing your blood pressure levels, team sports can also boost your energy and improve your mental health.
Tips for Exercising With High Blood Pressure
- Warm up and cool down with stretches to prevent injury.
- Work up to 30 minutes of exercise with three 10-minute stretches.
- Start with moderate-intensity activities like brisk walking, cycling, swimming, etc.
- Make sure to regulate your breathing while exercising.
- Consult your doctor before taking up activities like sprinting, lifting weights, diving, etc., that require you to hold your breath, as they can spike your blood pressure.
- Workout with a partner to make exercising more fun and to stay motivated.
- Stay hydrated while working out by having a water bottle with you.
- Do not overdo it in the beginning as it can do more harm than good.
- Take a break if you feel hot, out of breath or if you experience any pain. Try using a smartwatch to monitor your heart rate.
- Have a fixed time for exercise on your schedule so you don’t put it off.
Other Health Benefits of Regular Exercise
- It helps you maintain a healthy weight.
- It helps lower your blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
- It boosts your metabolism and gives you more energy.
- It helps you get better sleep.
- It improves your mood and mental well-being.
- It reduces stress and helps you relax.
What Activities Should People with High BP Avoid?
If you have hypertension, try to avoid high-intensity activities like sprinting, lifting heavy weights, diving, paragliding, etc. These activities can require you to hold your breath and put undue stress on your heart which raises your blood pressure. Consult your doctor before you perform any of these activities.
Don’t Have Time To Read?
- Regular physical activity offers many health benefits, with lowered blood pressure levels being one of them.
- Exercise makes your heart stronger, which helps your heart beat with lesser effort, thus lowering your blood pressure.
- The American Heart Association recommends at least 30 minutes of exercise every day.
- The best exercises to reduce your blood pressure are brisk walking, jogging, swimming, aerobics, dancing, jumping rope and playing active or team sports.
- Make sure to regulate your breathing when working out.
- Contact your doctor before starting a high-intensity exercise routine.
- Regular exercise offers other health benefits like weight loss, lowered blood sugar levels, improved mood, better sleep quality, and feeling more energetic.
- Avoid high-intensity activities like sprinting, weight lifting, diving, etc., if you are not used to them.
- Use the Phable Care App to consult India’s leading cardiologists, order medicines, book lab tests, integrate BP monitors and other devices to get real-time remote care from the comfort of your home. Also, check out our Hypertension Management program which provides 360º care. Let’s treat high blood pressure problems together.
Friendly Asked Questions
For the most part, yes. Regular and moderate exercise can help lower your blood pressure along with providing other health benefits. High-intensity activities like lifting weights, running, sprinting etc., should be performed with care. Consult your doctor before starting an exercise routine.
It may take about 2 to 3 months of regular exercise for you to notice any changes in your blood pressure levels.
The main causes of Hypertension or high blood pressure are ageing, unhealthy diet, lack of regular physical activity, being overweight, having a family history of high blood pressure, smoking and alcohol consumption.
1. Diaphragmatic breathing: Sit or lie down in a comfortable position. Place one hand just below your ribs and the other on your chest. Now breathe in deeply, making sure that the hand on your ribs is rising (this ensures that you are breathing deep from your stomach). Hold your breath for a few seconds, and let it out slowly through your mouth. Repeat for 5 minutes and as necessary throughout the day.2. 30-second breathing exercise: Sit down in a comfortable position. Take in a deep breath while counting to four. Hold your breath till the count of four. Exhale slowly while counting to four. Repeat for 30 seconds and as necessary throughout the day. 3. Alternate nostril breathing: Sit down in a comfortable position with your back straight and legs crossed. Use your thumb to press down and close your right nostril. Take a deep breath in through your left nostril and hold it in. Now press down on your left nostril with your fingers and exhale through your right nostril. Alternate and repeat for 5 minutes and as necessary throughout the day.