Exercise to lower blood pressure
High blood pressure is a common condition in the UK with over 16 million of us reported to be living with it, so how can we help ourselves to bring these numbers down?
A recent diagnosis of high blood pressure may leave you anxious about exerting yourself through exercise, but rest easy – along with numerous other benefits, exercise is perfectly safe and can even help to lower blood pressure!
So where do you start? Hand in hand with getting more exercise you should consider what you are eating. Salt should be eliminated from your diet as much as is practicable and you should aim to maintain a healthy weight.
It is also advisable to check with your doctor first before embarking on any new exercise regime, especially if you have other medical conditions.
Read more on how to cut back on salt.
What type of exercises should we be doing?
The best type of exercise is that which makes you moderately out of breath. Any type of aerobic exercise counts such as fast walking, jogging, cycling or swimming but equally dancing, mowing the lawn and digging in the garden count too. All of these activities can help to reduce blood pressure by up to 10 per cent.
Kick start your aerobic exercise by learning how to start running.
High blood pressure can be reduced further if you add some resistance training to your moderate aerobic exercise. And there are other benefits too:
- Your muscle strength will increase
- Your muscle mass will increase – this is especially important in older adults
- The way your body handles blood sugars will improve (metabolic regulation)
- Your bone mineral density will improve and should reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis
Discover how to prevent osteoporosis through exercise.
How much exercise should we do?
As a general rule you should aim to increase your heart rate to approximately 60% of maximum. Maximum heart rate is calculated at around 220 beats per minute minus your age.
But it is important not to overdo it for the first few minutes as your body warms up or for the last few minutes as you wind down.
Aim to exercise for 40 minutes to 1 hour, 3 or 4 times a week. Build your stamina up gradually. It is important to listen to your body and stop if you feel pain, excessive breathlessness, if you feel sick or faint. If you exercise regularly your blood pressure should start to lower after a few weeks.
Is there any exercise we shouldn’t do with high blood pressure?
Heavy weight lifting may place too much strain on the heart and blood vessels and so should be avoided in someone with high blood pressure.
Parachuting and scuba diving may also be dangerous activities if your blood pressure is not being controlled.
Types of aerobic exercise to help reduce high blood pressure
It is a good idea to vary the type of exercise you do as in that way you will be working a variety of muscle groups and may stop it getting boring!
The following exercises are worth giving a go:
- 40 minutes fast walking – best undertaken on soft ground. Try including some short hills to get your heartrate up and vary your route as much as you can.
- 40 minutes cycling – add in a few hills or increase your speed to get your heart rate up. This can be achieved on a stationary exercise bike too.
- 30-40 minutes swimming – aim to get out of breath and raise your heart rate. Include a few short bursts of faster swimming if you can.
- 30-40 minute aerobic exercise class – you don’t have to go at it full pelt as moderate exercise, where you can still hold a conversation, is enough to lower blood pressure, so go at the pace which suits you. Remember to warm up first so not as to risk injury.
- 60 minute racquet sport – aim to achieve a steady workout with a rally rather than a competitive game.
- 30 minutes on a cross trainer or rowing machine – the monitor on an exercise machine will help you to keep a steady level of aerobic activity.
Some final tips
Try and find exercise that you enjoy as you are more likely to stick with it. If you prefer resistance-based exercises rather than aerobic training then give that a go instead or alternate between the two.
Remember not to hold or push against your breath while exercising – breathe normally and you should see some amazing results!
Click on our diet and exercise section for lots of articles on how to eat healthily and stay active.
All content on Silversurfers.com is provided for general information only, and should not be treated at all as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. Silversurfers will not be responsible or liable for any diagnosis made by a user based on the content on www.silversurfers.com and we are also not liable for the content of any external websites or links from or to Silversurfers to any other websites. Please always consult your own doctor if you’re in any way concerned about any aspect of your health
Have you got a health question?
We've teamed up with AXA PPP healthcare to bring you articles, information and tips from their clinical teams on a wide range of health topics. And if you have a health related question of your own – about your or your family's health, medication or upcoming procedures, for example – you can also access their, "Ask the Expert" service. Available around the clock, 365 days a year this free resource allows you to ask the team of friendly and experienced nurses, midwives and pharmacists about any health concerns you may have– whenever you need us, 24 hours a day, every day.
Please get in touch with us now. Click below to submit your question online.
ASK THE EXPERT
AXA PPP healthcare
Latest posts by AXA PPP healthcare (see all)
- Do you feel under pressure and unable to cope? - July 20, 2019
- Different labs produce different blood test results - July 15, 2019
- Warfarin, Tinzaparin and INR explained - July 12, 2019
- Are you at risk of skin cancer? - July 11, 2019
- Exercise to lower blood pressure - July 9, 2019
Leave a Comment!
Community Terms & Conditions
These content standards apply to any and all material which you contribute to our site (contributions), and to any interactive services associated with it.
You must comply with the spirit of the following standards as well as the letter. The standards apply to each part of any contribution as well as to its whole.
be accurate (where they state facts); be genuinely held (where they state opinions); and comply with applicable law in the UK and in any country from which they are posted.
Contributions must not:
contain any material which is defamatory of any person; or contain any material which is obscene, offensive, hateful or inflammatory; or promote sexually explicit material; or promote violence; promote discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age; or infringe any copyright, database right or trade mark of any other person; or be likely to deceive any person; or be made in breach of any legal duty owed to a third party, such as a contractual duty or a duty of confidence; or promote any illegal activity; or be threatening, abuse or invade another’s privacy, or cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety; or be likely to harass, upset, embarrass, alarm or annoy any other person; or be used to impersonate any person, or to misrepresent your identity or affiliation with any person; or give the impression that they emanate from us, if this is not the case; or advocate, promote or assist any unlawful act such as (by way of example only) copyright infringement or computer misuse.
Nurturing a safe environment
Our Silversurfers community is designed to foster friendships, based on trust, honesty, integrity and loyalty and is underpinned by these values.
We don't tolerate swearing, and reserve the right to remove any posts which we feel may offend others... let's keep it friendly!