Hypertension is a major problem in the United States. In fact, it is estimated that nearly half of adults in the US suffer from high blood pressure. One reason for this troubling statistic is a lack of physical activity; a more active lifestyle can do wonders for bringing down blood pressure levels.
Working Out the Heart
So how exactly does exercise affect the heart? Well, as with the muscles in your arms, legs and chest, routine exercise makes your heart muscle stronger. In turn, a stronger heart makes for a more efficient heart, allowing it to pump blood into the circulatory system with less effort. Because the heart is now expending less energy to do its job, the adjacent arteries are subjected to less force, meaning that your blood pressure readings fall to healthier levels.
According to the Mayo Clinic, an active lifestyle can reduce blood pressure by 4 to 9 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). To put this in perspective, this reduction is about as good as the results from certain blood pressure medicines.
Even those who already have healthy blood pressure readings can benefit from added physical activity. Exercise is a great way to burn off excessive calories from your waistline. By keeping your weight down, you can also prevent your blood pressure from rising as you get older.
Part of Your Routine
As with many goals, achieving low blood pressure via exercise is not something that can happen overnight. Rather, you will need to be consistently physically active to see noticeable results. Furthermore, you can’t revert back to your habits once your blood pressure falls, as the benefits of exercise fade away once you resume your sedentary habits.
If you’re thinking about starting an exercise routine, the tips below might be of some use:
- Generally speaking, those who are in otherwise good health are advised to get 150 minutes moderate-intensity exercise on a weekly basis. An example of such activity is brisk walking.
- You don’t have to get all your exercise in at once. One option is to exercise for thirty minutes per day, five days per week.
- Set aside at least two days for muscle strengthening activities, such as weight lifting, cycling or pushups.
- While they might not be the most exciting activities, flexibility and stretching exercises should be a significant part of your workout routine.