Exercises for High Blood Pressure

Exercise is the one of the major and effective remedy for lowering down your blood pressure. Exercise for high blood pressure doesn’t relate to excessive vigorous work and giving lots of physical stress to body by running on treadmills for hours in gym, you can simply work on your blood pressure by performing mild activities which you enjoy doing like walking, cycling, swimming etc. Provided it should be done regularly. Exercise is also effective in reducing stress, cholesterol level and diabetes. So if you want to prevent any chance of heart attack or stroke, please make exercise as integral part of your life.

Studies have proven that by doing regular exercise, almost of 5-9 months, reduces blood pressure by 9%. Systolic pressure can reduce up to 5mmHg and diastolic by 3mmHg.  However this effect is not observed suddenly, you have to stick to exercise at least for month to bring your blood pressure under control. However if along with exercise, if you are maintaining healthy dietary habits, and quit smoking and drinking,  reduction in blood pressure can be seen at much faster rate.

Exercises for High Blood Pressure

Exercise for high blood pressure patient is not limited to single one, exercises like swimming, climbing, and tennis etc. and even activities like gardening, cleaning house or cooking are equally effective in lowering blood pressure.

Two forms of exercise: Aerobic and Anaerobic exercises are useful in maintaining blood pressure .However; aerobic exercises like walking, running, skiing etc. are more preferred for hypertensive patient because it involves use of cardiovascular system for transporting large amount of oxygen in blood to the entire body. It should be carried out at least for 20 minutes and up to 1 hour daily. Anaerobic exercise elevates your metabolic rate but it has no effect on heart rate. Anaerobic exercise are of short duration and more vigorous as compared to aerobic exercise. Under water Swimming comes under anaerobic exercise because energy during swimming comes from energy yielding substances in body. Other examples include weight lifting, running, shot puts etc. anaerobic exercise must be avoided by hypertensive patients because it initially raises blood pressure and if done for longer time, it may keep blood pressure permanently elevated.

As you Exercise, brain produces natural opiates that helps in elevating your mood. So time of exercise whether morning or evening is not important, as any time exercise will improve your mood, and also relieves stress and tones mind. Minimum time for exercise for high blood pressure patient is mentioned below and exercising for the time given burns around 300 calories per day.
               Exercise                                                    Time (minutes)

  • Brisk walk                                                        40-50 mins.
  • Jogging                                                            25 mins.
  • Cycling                                                             25 mins
  • Cross country skiing                                          25 mins.
  • Swimming                                                       30-50 mins.
  • Stair climber                                                    30 mins.

Many people prefer brisk walking and cycling as they are not so difficult and can be easily done. Walking should be done for at least 3 times per week. However the basic problem with walking, jogging and cycling is that it only develops muscular legs and hand and arms remain unaffected. So I would suggest that people should focus more in exercises like cross country skiing as it involves use of both arms and legs and thus exercises both upper and lower body.

Suppose you are having busy day and not able to invest 30-40 minutes for walking, you can manage by just breaking it down to 10-15 minutes chunk of times. This will also keep you active throughout the day. Or else start jogging for 20 minutes as it will save time and produces same effect. Before performing any exercise for high blood pressure, it is very essential to do some toning and stretching activity.

Exercises for High Blood Pressure

Stretching exercise – This activity is done to prevent soreness and injury to body while exercising. Two methods are involved for Stretching of calf muscles and Achilles tendons of legs. In first method, try to touch your toes with hands while keeping the feet flat on ground. Don’t jump or bounce up and down for touching toes as it may damage your tendons. Second method has following steps, first of all stand facing a wall and then slowly lean forward. Stagger your feet and bend forward knee. Keep your rear leg straight with the foot flat on the floor; you will feel a stretch in rear leg. The stretching of hamstrings of upper leg can be accomplished by rising of any one leg higher, and rest your heal on a support like chairs arms. Then stretch your arms and try to touch toes of that foot. Lower back stretching is very essential for elder people. Lie down and move any one knee towards chest. Stay in this position for at least 20-30 second’s. Carry out same activity with other legs. After some time pull both legs towards chest and hold it for 30 seconds.

 

Toning exercises – toning exercises are done to tone various muscles. Stomach muscles are toned by doing half sit ups, at least do for 30 times daily. Hip circumference also reduces by such activity. Love handles can be avoided by holding by performing one simple activity. Hold 10 pound weights with both hands and stretch feet by 12 inches. Then slowly start rotating to each side and hold on to that position for 10 seconds.  Do for 30 times daily.  For developing firm arm, slowly lift some weights up and then bring it down slowly.

 

When we get engage in physical activity, our body pumps more blood to meet the demand and heart beat increases.3 Before doing any activity you should have idea of your maximum heart rate. This can be calculated by subtracting your age from 220, and then take 70% of that value. It is also mentioned as training heart rate (THR). You will get idea of your maximum beat per minutes you can achieve. Let us take example of a 53 year old man, his maximum heart rate will be 167 (220-53), THR will be 70% of 167 i.e. 117. Remember THR value is average value so old man has to work vigorously to get his heart beat within 10% of his THR, around 110-123 and maintain that heart beat at least for 20 minutes.

Also try to improve your lifestyle, like avoid luxurious life and concentrate more on physical work. For example: instead of parking your car just in front of office, park it little away from office so that you can walk some distance, increase house hold work, use stairs instead of elevator, don’t use cart while playing golf etc.

Benefits of Exercise for Blood Pressure

Let us have look at some of the health benefits associated with physical activity.

  • Reduction of stress – exercise is the best method of reducing stress especially job stress. If you go for a walk or conduct any sort of exercise of your interest, in morning or at evening, your brain will produce a soothing substance called beta endorphin that produces calming effect which can last for entire day. Also you will have better sleep as exercise also stimulates release of serotonin which promotes sleep.
  • Develops more active nature – On regular exercise you will be more productive at work as exercises increases stamina and ability to concentrate. Alertness increases because as muscle tone increases, circulation improves and as a result of this more oxygen blood will be transported to brain.
  • Maintains blood sugar level and reduce risk of diabetes as exercise promotes weight loss. Regular exercise reduces symptoms and hazardous effects of non-insulin dependant type II diabetes.
  • Reduces tendency to form blood clots and thus reduces risk of heart attack or stroke.