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Is It Safe to Exercise With High Blood Pressure?Often we are concerned with the feasibility of exercising when suffering from an ailment. For patients with high blood pressure (hypertension), this is of even greater concern, with questions surrounding their body’s ability to endure the rigors of this increased activity and the wisdom of subjecting it to this additional pressure. This need not be of concern. In fact, if you’re suffering from high blood pressure, moderate to medium exercise can be one of the most effective ways of controlling it.
Consider that the heart is a muscle and similar to all other muscles, it maintains or increases strength with regular activity and loses its elasticity with inactivity and age. Exercise not only improves your cardiovascular system but can help in lowering your cholesterol and maintaining a healthy body weight, both of which are contributors to hypertension.
Although it is unclear as to exactly how exercise contributes to a lowering of high blood pressure, one of the prevailing theories is that exercise (aerobic) reduces insulin and insulin resistance, two of the factors associated with the development of hypertension. It’s also undeniable that regular physical activity strengthens the heart, the stronger the heart, the lower the amount of effort needed to pump blood thus decreasing the strain on your arteries and lowering your blood pressure. Research has continuously shown that cardiovascular diseases are more prevalent among those individuals who are least fit, with hypertension being 30% to 50% more likely to occur.
Exercise programs are slotted into two distinct categories: Aerobic and Anaerobic. Aerobic exercise strengthens and enlarges the heart muscle along with the muscles of the respiratory system. The result being that your cardiovascular system is strengthened, while your stamina and overall strength are increased. The decrease in your heart rate will, by extension lead to a decrease in your blood pressure over time. Anaerobic exercise, on the other hand, is useful in building: strength, muscle mass, and speed while also increasing the metabolic rate and is deemed to be more beneficial to athletes.
All physical activity which increases your heart and breathing rate can be considered aerobic, including such everyday activities as bicycling, walking, dancing, climbing the stairs, mowing the lawn, raking leaves, etc. More formal and structured forms of exercise include basketball, volleyball, softball, tennis and racquetball among others.
These types of activities are suggested for persons who would be more comfortable in participating in team activities or who may benefit from the support and encouragement of others. Yoga, any other form of martial arts could also be beneficial. For the patients with high blood pressure (hypertension), it’s important to remember that the aim is to participate in moderate forms of exercise. Moderate implies that you must exert yourself a little without getting too out of breath.
Your choice of exercise should be one which you like to do and can be incorporated into your daily routine without too much difficulty. Doing so would ensure its longevity. Varying your exercise regimen will also help in breaking the monotony and encourage you to continue. An adequate exercise regimen should consist of at least thirty (30) minutes of exercise three to five times a week, at least every other day.
An alternative method as suggested by the Surgeon is that all adults are supposed to accumulate 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise on most if not all days of the week. The keywords are “accumulate” and “moderate-intensity.” Accumulate refers that you can perform it 10-15 minutes at a time and repeat that a couple of occasions throughout the day; for instance, 10 minutes in the morning, 10 minutes during lunch time, and 10 minutes at around dinner. Moderate intensity can be equivalent to feeling “slightly and warm out of breath” when you do it.”
The natural aging process increases the chances of getting high blood pressure but participating in some form of exercise can reduce this risk. A single workout may reduce your blood pressure for the whole day and exercise regularly, consistently keeps the pressure down. It’s a personal choice as to what type of exercise one should follow but whatever type you choose you should first consult your doctor and get his/her recommendations, particularly if you are taking medication for high blood pressure
If you are able, start taking some exercise today. Regular exercise makes the blood vessels more flexible and the heart stronger so it is able to pump blood around the body more efficiently. It also makes it easier to achieve a healthier weight if you are overweight.
Do not overdo it! Walking is a great way to start your exercise regime. Try to do thirty minutes per day, five days a week. You can start off by doing three ten-minute sessions, or two fifteen-minute sessions, and build up gradually as your stamina improves. You should walk at a brisk pace so that you feel quiteslightly and warm out of breath.
If you blood pressure is between 140/90 and 179/99 then it should be safe to start taking some exercise. If it is higher than 180/100 then your doctor may prescribe medication to lower it before you begin to exercise.
The sort of exercise that is good for your blood pressure is: cycling, dancing, swimming, tennis, jogging, walking. The sort of exercise that is not good is: weight lifting, squash, sprinting.
Drinking water at regular intervals throughout the the day prevents the body becoming dehydrated. This is especially important when taking exercise. When the body is low on water the brain reacts by constricting the veins and arteries, so causing an increase in blood pressure. Remember: drink plenty of water, not alcohol, coffee, or soft drinks that contain sugar as these drinks actually cause dehydration.
Research carried out over a period of fifteen years and involving over three-thousand people who were on the verge of developing high blood pressure, showed that reducing their salt intake from about ten grams per day to seven grams per day cut their risk of developing a stroke or heart disease in the next ten to fifteen years by between twenty-five and thirty per cent, and they had a twenty per cent lower risk of dying prematurely than those who ate ten grams or more salt per day.
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