Can exercise improve my blood pressure? Even though the risk of high blood pressure increases with age, doing even some exercise can make a difference. If your blood pressure is already elevated, exercise can help keep it under control. That’s your answer, but let’s find out how.
How Exercise Can Improve Your Blood Pressure
The American Heart Association tells us that physical activity helps us control high blood pressure, but in addition, it can help you keep your weight at a healthy level, strengthens your heart, and even lowers stress. All three of these are beneficial for your blood pressure.
A strong heart pumps more blood with less effort. If you are overweight, even losing as little as five pounds can lower your blood pressure. Exercise will have an impact on your blood pressure, but only if it’s done consistently.
You can also reduce blood pressure by losing inches around your waist. Carrying too much weight around the middle is problematic. Men are more at risk for high blood pressure if their waist measurement is above 40 inches, and for women if it is above 35 inches.
How Much Exercise Is Enough Exercise?
If all of the positive benefits of exercise are true, then the opposite creates negative issues. If you are a “couch potato” type, you’re more likely to have health problems like a heart attack or stroke than someone who practices some form of exercise.
Thirty minutes a day for five days during the week will provide a healthy amount of aerobic exercise. You can walk, swim, dance, or do some other type of moderate activity. Find something you enjoy. Include stretching and flexibility exercises along with muscle strengthening at least two days during the week. Always spread out your activity throughout the week.
Consult with Premier Health Network in Chicago, IL if you haven’t been that active to be sure your goals are realistic. Start slowly and gradually build up the time and the level of activity. Always remember to warm up and cool down with any activity.
Beyond exercise, stop smoking, decrease salt intake and alcohol consumption, and make some healthy dietary changes as additional ways to lower blood pressure.
Monitor Your Own Progress
It is easy to see if changing your activity level is helping with blood pressure. Have a unit at home and check it at the same time each day. Along with your health appointments, you can determine any positive changes.