Blood pressure in type 2 diabetics can be lowered with easy exercises. Coauthor of the study Bronwyn Kingwell explained, “It appears you don’t have to do very much. We saw some marked blood pressure reductions over trial days when people did the equivalent of walking to the water cooler or some simple body-weight movements on the spot.”
The researchers monitored blood pressure among 24 overweight and obese individuals as they sat for eight hours. All participants had type 2 diabetes.
The participants took brief breaks from sitting every half hour and either completed three minutes of walking or three minutes of resistance exercise. Blood pressure was monitored during their activity breaks as well.
Compared to blood pressure readings during uninterrupted sitting, light walking led to an average 10-point drop in blood pressure, while resistance exercises led to a 12-point drop.
Kingwell concluded, “Light activity breaks are not meant to replace regular, purposeful exercise. But they may be a practical solution to cut down on sitting time, especially if you’re at your desk all day.”
How blood pressure and diabetes are linked
Although anyone can have hypertension, it is more common among type 2 diabetics. Although the exact relationship isn’t well understood, many doctors believe it is due to shared risk factors for hypertension and type 2 diabetes, including obesity, inactivity, and consuming a high-fat, high-sodium diet.
Hypertension does not present any symptoms, so if you are not monitoring your blood pressure you can very well be unaware of your high levels. This is problematic because over time high blood pressure causes damage to the arteries, increasing your risk of a heart attack or stroke. Furthermore, if diabetes isn’t well managed, high levels of sugar in the blood can also lead to arterial damage.
The good news is, both hypertension and type 2 diabetes also share many prevention methods that can help lower your risk or help you better manage your conditions. For starters, get moving. Exercise has been long known to help manage these conditions, as it promotes weight loss, which is a risk factor for both. Eat a healthy diet, reduce your sodium and fat intake, eliminate processed foods, and instead opt for vegetables, fruits, lean meats, and whole grains. Ensure you are not overeating and carefully monitor your portions.
By working with your doctor, you can have greater success in managing your high blood pressure in diabetes and reduce your risk of health complications.