If you knew that by adding a few simple exercises to your daily routine would help to lower your blood pressure and risk of suffering a potentially fatal heart attack or stroke, would you do them?
High blood pressure (also termed hypertension) is a chronic medical problem that increases the blood pressure in your arteries. When your blood pressure is elevated, the performance of your heart is negatively affected. Your heart has to work harder to circulate the blood through the vessels of your body. Normal blood pressure is 120/80 mmHg or below while high blood pressure is repeatedly 140/90 mmHg or higher. High blood pressure should not be ignored as it is a major risk factor for many health problems including stroke, heart attack, heart failure, aneurysms, arterial disease and kidney disease.
If your doctor detects that your blood pressure is heightened early, you should be able to manage it through lifestyle changes, including diet and exercise modifications. This doesn’t mean that you have to become a high performance athlete. Simple changes to your daily routine will have a big impact on your blood pressure. It will take approximately one to three months of regular exercise for you to see noticeable changes in your blood pressure.
All forms of exercise including, aerobic exercises, flexibility exercises and lifting weights, have a direct impact on your blood pressure. Exercise improves the performance of your heart by making it stronger. A healthy, strong heart can pump blood more efficiently which means that it has to work less, lowering the blood pressure in the arteries.
If your blood pressure is in the healthy range, at or below 120/80 mmHg, then exercising will help to maintain the healthy blood pressure as you age. Regular physical activity will help you to maintain a healthy weight so that you won’t need to lose weight later in life. If you are overweight with normal blood pressure, exercising will not only maintain your blood pressure, but will help you to lose weight. Even if you currently don’t have high blood pressure, obesity increases your risk of developing it later in life, so if you lose weight, you will decrease your risk of developing this health problem.
To get the best possible health benefits, including increasing the performance of your heart and lowering your blood pressure, a combination of aerobic exercises and lifting weights should be incorporated into your exercise routine. Aerobic exercises are any activities that get your heart pumping – this is the type of exercise that will improve the performance of your heart the most. Some performance enhancing activities include: household chores (mopping, vacuuming, etc.), brisk walking, biking, jogging, swimming, etc. It is recommended that you do aerobic-type exercise for approximately 30 minutes per day. Keep in mind that aerobic exercise is cumulative. This means that short bursts of exercise can be added throughout the day to reach 30 minutes – 10 minutes here, 10 minutes there and so on, it doesn’t seem to intimidating now does it? Another great benefit of aerobic exercise is that it will help you to lose weight.
Lifting weights is another type of exercise that you should add to your exercise routine to improve the performance of your heart. It is important to follow a few safety tips when you start lifting weights to minimize the risk of injury.
1. Use proper form – if needed, consult a personal trainer to learn the exercise properly
2. Breathe – do not hold your breath when lifting weights. Holding your breath can cause an unwanted increase in blood pressure
3. Lift light – to improve the performance of your heart, it’s better to lift a lighter weight for more repetitions. If you lift heavy weights, you may have an increase in blood pressure due to the increase in exertion level
4. Don’t over-do it – if your body is fatigued, or you experience pain, stop what you’re doing to avoid injury
Keep in mind, that if you start doing cardio, lifting weights or any other type of exercise, you must continue to do so to keep your blood pressure in check. If you stop working out, you will not maintain the blood pressure benefits and will have to look elsewhere to control it (such as prescription medication). Exercises, including aerobic type activities and lifting weights will not only help you to lose weight, it will improve the performance of your heart in addition to improving the performance of many other body systems. If you’re looking for a safe, natural approach to lowering your blood pressure, exercise is the answer!
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