If your car is in bad shape, you generally don’t want to put the pedal to the metal. It’s a good thing your body isn’t a car.
The body-to-car comparisons generally work. But not when it comes to blood pressure. Sometimes running your body hard can have significant long-term effects on overall health.
If you’re looking to lower high blood pressure, one of the best things you can do is run your heart rate up every day.
Heart rate and blood pressure are different. Your heart rate doesn’t even play that big of a role in blood pressure. For example, your heart rate can safely double without making much of a difference in blood pressure.
How does that happen? Exercise gets your heart working a little harder, prompting blood vessels to widen so more blood can reach your muscles. Quite simply, your body makes a temporary adaptation.
When you get in the routine of boosting your heart rate every day, those relaxed veins can start to stick around and have an effect on blood pressure. Over time, blood pressure may start to decrease.
That’s one of the reasons regular exercise is recommended for heart health. Over time, it makes great headway in lowering blood pressure.
Your maximum heart rate is 220 beats per minute minus your age. So, if you’re 66, your maximum heart rate is 154. If you’re untrained, you don’t want to get up here; it can be very dangerous.
Instead, you want to be working around 60% of your max rate. For a 66-year-old, that’s about 92 beats per minute. At that stage, you’re working at moderate intensity, which is right where you want to be.
Stay in that range for about 30-minutes per day, and you’re on the road to lower blood pressure.
Talk to your doctor before starting any exercise routine that can influence heart health.