The idea that those with raised blood pressure should use physical exercise as a means of reducing it may surprise some people. But physical activity can take many forms and choosing the right kind can contribute to the treatment and reduction of high blood pressure.
Dangers Of No Exercise
Just as too much exercise with raised blood pressure can be harmful, so too can no exercise at all. Physical inactivity is linked directly with high blood pressure but choosing the right type of training to do is very important.
It is always advisable to take medical advice when selecting a workout routine. This should ensure that it compliments any other treatment, for example, medication. No medical advice of prescribed treatment should be ignored or discontinued without prior medical consultation.
How Physical Exercise Can Help
Physical activity will raise blood pressure, but this is on a temporary basis. When the activity ceases, blood pressure should fall and return to the normal level for that individual. As a person becomes fitter, the time it takes for blood pressure to go back to normal decreases, and a cycle of increased fitness becomes established.
Physical activity makes the heart work harder; like any muscle, as it develops it can do its job with less effort. A healthy heart can pump blood around the body with reduced effort, placing less strain on the arteries and this helps reduce blood pressure.
The Types Of Physical Activity That Can Help
Aerobic activity – This doesn’t involve joining a gym and using expensive equipment. Aerobic activity is anything that makes your heart rate and breathing rates rise. There are classic examples of aerobic activity in traditional sports, but it can also be done very successfully in the home with minimal effort.
Household tasks – Simple changes in a day-to-day routine around the home can help. For example, climbing stairs is an aerobic activity. Making an effort to do so each time the opportunity presents itself can make a significant difference; instead of piling things at the bottom of the stairs to be taken up in one go, take them up as they are identified.
Sweeping a drive, doorstep, raking garden leaves and other rubbish are all ways of getting good aerobic exercise.
Playing some favourite, motivating music to dance to while watching TV or doing other minor chores is also an enjoyable way of getting aerobic exercise.
Walking – Aerobic exercise at its best. Choose the pace that suits, enjoy the scenery and contribute to health.
Swimming – Right up there with walking. Levels of exertion can vary from very mild to quite demanding.
Cycling – The same as walking and swimming, but perhaps for some a little more demanding. Take care when challenging hills.
Reduce time spent sitting- Sitting for long periods is the opposite of being physically active, so other activities such as standing, walking to get refreshments or do minor tasks should break down the length of time spent sitting.
Weight training – This is a more vigorous form of exercise, but can also help reduce high blood pressure. It will also build strength. Again, as with any exercise mixed with problems related to blood pressure, weight training should be adopted with due regard to medical advice.