High Blood Pressure and Exercise

The Impact of Exercise on High Blood Pressure

When a person begins regular physical exercise, the average drop in blood pressure is about 4 mmHg for systolic blood pressure and 2.5 mmHg for diastolic blood pressure.
 
Of course, the effects that exercise will have on a person's blood pressure will vary. Some research studies have shown drops in systolic blood pressure of up to 30 mmHg and drops in diastolic blood pressure of up to 25 mmHg with regular aerobic exercise.
 
These drops in blood pressure with exercise were seen, regardless of the person's weight, ethnicity, or age. Furthermore, all types, frequencies, and intensities of aerobic exercise lowered blood pressure.
 
In addition to its effect on high blood pressure, exercise has been shown to reduce the risk of:
 
  • Developing and/or dying from heart disease
  • Developing diabetes
  • Developing high blood pressure to begin with
  • Premature death.
 

Advice for Staying Motivated

Here are some tips that other people have found helpful in order to stay motivated with their new exercise program:
 
  • Don't forget to stretch before you walk. Try to start off slowly.
 
  • Ask other people to walk with you. Find a partner or a group. When you know someone else is walking with you, it keeps you going.
 
  • Try to walk at least three times a week.
 
  • Wear comfortable shoes and good socks to help cushion your feet.
 
  • Try to think of your walk in three parts. Imagine a warm-up period at the beginning, challenge yourself with a brisk pace in the middle, and finally picture a cool-down. You can feel success when you finish each part.
 
  • Wear clothes that are right for the season. Try wearing layers of clothing in the cold weather to keep you warm, and cotton clothes in the summer to keep you cool.
 
  • Drink plenty of water. It doesn't have to be that fancy bottled stuff -- get your own container and keep it filled with plenty of tap water. Carry it with you if you can.
 
  • Walk in a safe place that has plenty of lights in the evening. Try walking around a local school's parking lot or going to the mall.
 
  • Be safe -- pay attention to your surroundings.
     
Ask your doctor about high blood pressure and exercise after reading this article. Working together, you can create a fitness plan that is right for you.
 
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