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How Exercise Affects Blood Pressure

The average drop in blood pressure when a person begins regular physical exercise 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 reductions in blood pressure with exercise were seen, regardless of the person's ethnicity, weight, or age. Furthermore, all frequencies, types, and intensities of aerobic exercise lowered blood pressure.

Staying Motivated to Exercise

Here are some tips that other people have found helpful in order to stay motivated with their new exercise program:
  • Wear comfortable shoes and good socks to help cushion your feet.
  • 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.
  • Don't forget to stretch before you walk. Try to start off slowly.
  • Try to walk at least three times a week.
  • 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.
  • 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.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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