Exercise and High Blood Pressure

Exercise is one of the best ways to prevent or control high blood pressure. Research on high blood pressure and exercise indicates that all frequencies, types, and intensities of aerobic exercise can lower blood pressure. Engaging in 30 minutes of moderate-level exercise can lower high blood pressure by anywhere from 2.5 to 25 mmHg.

Exercise and High Blood Pressure: An Overview

Being physically active is one of the most important steps you can take to prevent or control high blood pressure. It also helps reduce your risk of heart disease. It doesn't take a lot of effort to become physically active. All you need is 30 minutes of moderate-level exercise on most days of the week. Examples of such activities include:
 
  • Brisk walking
  • Bicycling
  • Raking leaves
  • Gardening.
     
You can even divide the 30 minutes into shorter periods of at least 10 minutes each.
 
If you already engage in 30 minutes of moderate-level exercise a day, you can get added benefits by doing more. Engage in a moderate-level exercise for a longer period each day or engage in a more vigorous activity.
 
Most people don't need to see a doctor before they start a moderate-level exercise program. However, you should check first with your doctor if you:
 
  • Have heart trouble or have had a heart attack
  • Are over age 50 and are not used to moderate-level physical activity
  • Have a family history of heart disease at an early age
  • Have any other serious health problem.
     

High Blood Pressure and Exercise: Getting Started

Get started by doing 30 minutes of a moderate-level activity on most, and preferably all, days of the week. Try brisk walking or bicycling. If you like, divide the 30 minutes into shorter periods of at least 10 minutes each. For instance:
 
  • Use stairs instead of an elevator
  • Get off a bus one or two stops early
  • Park your car at the far end of the lot at work.
     
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