How to Exercise Safely With High Blood Pressure

How to Exercise Safely With High Blood Pressure

If you suffer from high blood pressure, you may be having second thoughts about going to the gym to workout. This is especially true if you’ve had a sedentary lifestyle for quite some time. We recommend checking in with your doctor first so that they can assess your risk factors and give advice on how to exercise safely with your condition.

But the truth is, exercise and an active lifestyle is beneficial to people with high blood pressure. For one, exercise lowers blood pressure. And at the same time, it gives you more energy, makes you feel better, and relieves stress – all of which help you to better manage your condition.

If you live or work close to a gym like 24 Hour Fitness, that’s great because you can go there pretty much anytime of the day or night. But you don’t really need a gym membership to start working out. In fact, even a 30-minute walk around your neighborhood can do wonders.

3 Basic Types of Exercise

There are 3 kinds of exercises you can choose from.

  1. Aerobic exercise – This lowers your blood pressure and improves heart health.
  2. Strength training – This builds strong muscles and also helps you burn more calories even after working out.
  3. Stretching – This helps you improve flexibility and prevents injury.

Exercise Frequency

You can start with moderate activity for 30 minutes a day such as brisk walking or swimming. Doing this 5 times a week should be enough to start building your fitness level. In a few weeks you’ll get stronger and more attuned to exercising which means you can then progress to longer workouts.

Before you work out, make sure you warm up for 5 – 10 minutes. You can do stretches to prevent injury. Then don’t forget to cool down as well. You shouldn’t stop abruptly and instead slow down your pace for a few minutes. This is especially crucial for people with high blood pressure.

Best Exercises for High Blood Pressure

One of the best ways to control high blood pressure is to reach your ideal body weight. But that’s easier said than done. To help you reach this goal, consider these six exercises:

1. Do ten minutes of brisk walking thrice a day.

Exercise reduces blood vessel stiffness so blood can flow easily thereby lowering blood pressure. Break up your workout into 2-3 sessions throughout the day as studies have found that 10-minute walks 3x a day is more effective at preventing future blood pressure spikes than a single half hour walk.

2. Cycle for 10 minutes thrice a day.

The same reason applies.

3. Try desk treadmilling.

Doing a slow 1-mile per hour speed using under desk treadmills and stationary bikes for at least 10 minutes every hour has been found to lower blood pressure.

5. Consider weight training.

Weight lifting can reduce blood pressure but this needs to be done with caution especially for newbies. You should ask your doctor or a personal trainer to get a personalized advice.

6. Make time for swimming.

Swimming can be beneficial for adults 60 and older who have high blood pressure. One study found that participants who swam 2-3x a week for 45 minutes (progressive) had lowered their systolic blood pressure by an average of 9 points.

Here’s a short video that will explain how exercise helps manage high blood pressure:

Exercise & Blood Pressure

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