Staying active and exercising regularly contributes to your overall health. But what’s the role of exercise in the management of hypertension? Do aerobic and anaerobic exercises affect your body differently? Read on to understand what aerobic and anaerobic exercises are and how they can impact your blood pressure.
Regular exercise, no doubt, has benefits for your overall health. But it is even more important for the management of chronic diseases such as hypertension. So how does exercising regularly or staying physically active benefit individuals with hypertension? Do aerobic and anaerobic exercises have different effects on hypertension? Let’s understand what aerobic and anaerobic exercises are and their impact on hypertension.
What is the Role of Exercise in Hypertension?
Hypertension or high blood pressure is a chronic condition where your blood pressure is constantly higher than normal (> 120/80 mm Hg). For most individuals, there is no identifiable cause for hypertension, whereas in some it is caused due to an underlying medical condition such as congenital defects or thyroid problems. In others, hypertension may develop due to an unhealthy lifestyle.
Longstanding or uncontrolled hypertension can cause damage to the blood vessels and affect the functioning of your vital organs such as the heart and kidneys. Making healthy lifestyle changes is an effective way to manage hypertension. This includes having a heart-healthy diet, maintaining an ideal weight, and exercising regularly.
Regular exercise makes your heart healthier. A strong heart can pump blood more efficiently, reducing the force of blood in the arteries and thereby lowering your BP. Staying physically active also helps you attain a healthy body weight, which is a major factor when it comes to maintaining healthy blood pressure.
You can choose any exercise, aerobic or anaerobic, for staying physically active. Read on to understand the role of aerobic and anaerobic exercises in the management of hypertension.
What are Aerobic and Anaerobic Exercises?
Any form of exercise includes some aerobic and anaerobic activities.
These exercises are called “aerobic” (with oxygen) because they are fueled by the oxygen you get from breathing and elevate the amount of oxygen in your blood. These exercises are also called cardiovascular conditioning or simply “cardio”.
These exercises include endurance activities that can raise your heart and breathing rate for a relatively long duration. Activities such as jogging, running, dancing, brisk walking, swimming, and cycling are aerobic exercises.
These exercises are called “anaerobic” (without oxygen) because your body does not need oxygen to keep your muscles going and instead uses the energy stored in your muscles for these exercises.
These exercises involve short bursts of intense activity and include weight lifting and high-intensity interval training (HIIT).
Generally speaking, aerobic exercises help build endurance, whereas anaerobic exercise helps increase your muscle mass and strength. Read on to understand how these exercises impact Hypertension.
How Do Aerobic and Anaerobic Exercises Impact Hypertension?
Effect of Aerobic Exercises
- Hypertensives are encouraged to engage in aerobic exercises such as walking, jogging, or swimming regularly.
- These activities can improve your heart rate and function. When your heart function improves, it can pump blood better. This helps improve blood circulation and lowers your blood pressure effectively.
- Regular aerobic activities can improve your systolic blood pressure (the pressure in your blood vessels when your heart beats) by 3 to 5 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure (the pressure between the beats) by 2 to 3 mm Hg.
- You can aim for at least 150 minutes of mild-to-moderate aerobic exercise in a week.
Effect of Anaerobic Exercises
- Anaerobic exercise is any exercise that uses up the energy stored in your body to supply to working muscles in the absence of oxygen.
- Anaerobic exercises involve more intense, short bursts of physical activities that improve endurance and accelerate fat loss.
- Anaerobic exercises involve powerful muscle contractions and are a great way to improve your cardiovascular endurance.
- As your heart health improves, so does its ability to pump blood and maintain healthy blood pressure.
- Along with aiding in cardiovascular health, anaerobic exercises also improve muscle strength, burn calories, and help control blood glucose levels.
- You can choose anaerobic activities such as HIIT (high-intensity interval training) workouts or strength training exercises such as weight lifting. You can do them at least 2 to 3 days a week, always allowing one full day of rest in between. Also, make sure to follow the right technique while performing these high-intensity exercises in order to avoid any injury. Consult a fitness professional before starting these exercise regimens,
Tips for Exercising Safely with Hypertension
Here are some safety tips to keep in mind while exercising with hypertension:
- Before starting with a workout routine, consult your doctor and health coach to understand what kind of exercises would be safe for you.
- If you are new to exercising, start slowly and increase your intensity gradually.
- Make sure to warm up and cool down for at least 5 min before and after your workout.
- Start with moderate-intensity activities like brisk walking, cycling, swimming, etc before moving on to more vigorous exercise routines.
- Make sure to regulate your breathing while exercising.
- Stay hydrated while working out and always have a water bottle with you.
- Do not overdo it in the beginning as it can do more harm than good. Let your body adjust to each increase in intensity before moving on to the next.
- Take a break if you feel hot, out of breath or if you experience any pain.
- Use a smartwatch to monitor your heart rate.
Apart from this, work out with a partner to make exercising more fun and to stay motivated. Further, remember to fix a time every day for exercise on your schedule so you do not put it off.
Don’t Have Time To Read?
- Aerobic exercises are activities that increase your heart rate. With aerobic activities, you breathe faster and more deeply, increasing the oxygen in your blood. As your heart rate increases with these exercises, it also improves the blood supply to your muscles. Aerobic exercises include activities such as walking, dancing, cycling, and swimming.
- Anaerobic exercises do not need oxygen to keep your muscles going and use the energy stored in your muscles to fuel your body during the exercises. These exercises involve short bursts of intense activity and include activities such as HIIT (high-intensity interval training) and weight lifting.
- Both types of exercises can be safely performed with hypertension. These activities can improve your heart rate and heart function. When your heart function improves, it can pump blood better. This helps improve blood circulation and lowers your blood pressure effectively.
- Anaerobic exercises involve powerful muscle contractions and are a great way to improve cardiovascular endurance. As your heart health improves, so does its ability to pump blood and maintain healthy blood pressure.
- If you have hypertension before you start any workout routine, make sure to consult your doctor and health coach to understand what kind of exercises would be safe for you.
- 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
Both aerobic and anaerobic exercises can help lower blood pressure. If you are a beginner, make sure to start slowly and increase the intensity of your workout gradually. You can start with low-intensity activities such as walking or jogging that are easy to do and can be done anywhere. For anaerobic exercises such as weight lifting and HIIT, it is best to consult a fitness professional before starting them.
You can perform almost all kinds of exercises with hypertension. However, make sure to consult your doctor before starting any workout routine. He/she will guide you on exercises that would suit you better. This is essential, especially before taking up activities like sprinting, lifting weights, diving, etc., that require you to hold your breath, as they can spike your blood pressure.
It is normal to notice a spike in your blood pressure immediately after exercise. This occurs because your heart has to work harder to meet the oxygen demand during the exercise. However, this is usually not a matter of concern as this increase in your blood pressure is temporary. That being said, you should discontinue the exercise if you feel any symptoms of pain or discomfort during the activity.
Aerobic exercises such as jogging are found to be beneficial in improving your heart health and lowering your blood pressure. The best part about jogging is that it does not require a specific setting or any equipment. You can do it anywhere at any time according to your comfort. However, it is best to consult your doctor before you start an exercise regimen.