With summertime fast approaching, Iâm sure that most of you are hoping to get your body âbeach ready.â
We know that going to the gym on a regular basis can help with that, but quite frankly, for some of us that can take quite a bit of motivation. âI donât need to exercise,â you might say. âI like my body as it is!â
If thatâs the case, you have to ask yourself, is getting a great body all there is to exercising?
Once we understand the full benefits physical activity has on our health, we might be more determined to hit the treadmill!Letâs take a look at blood pressure, for example. Whether it is too high or too low, there can be significant consequences to your health. The good news is there are plenty of activities that you can do to keep your blood pressure under control; all of them fall under the category of âexercise.â
How Can Exercise Help Lower High Blood Pressure?
When you exercise, youâre helping your body maintain or lose weight by keeping your heart rate up and your blood vessels pumpingâthis will help stabilize your blood pressure.Some people are worried that exercising will cause their blood pressure to rise, which it will for the short period of time during your exercise routine, but it will return to normal shortly afterward. Talk with your doctor first about what type of physical activity is right for you.Complement your exercise with the following strategies to help keep your blood pressure under control:
- Reduce stress (read a book, listen to music, watch TVâwhatever helps you relax)
- Practice relaxing methods, such as prayer, deep breathing, yoga, and meditation
- Keep a blood pressure chart
- Make sure youâre getting enough rest
What Types of Exercise Can Lower Blood Pressure?
The Pennington Biomedical Research Center recently conducted a study on 400 women between the ages 45 to 75 who were all overweight, obese, and had high blood pressure. They divided the women into four groups; three of the groups exercised at different intensity levels.
After six months, each woman who exercised had significantly lower blood pressure! If weâre talking about physical activity to lower blood pressure, then you donât need to be lifting weights like Arnold Schwarzenegger. Below are some helpful exercises that you should be doing:
1. Cardiovascular or aerobic exercise
These types of exercises will get your heart pumping at a good rate; they can even include fun activities, like jogging around the block, jump rope, riding a bicycle, or walking around the mall. (Believe it or not, there are many free, nationwide mall-walking clubsâitâs also a great way to meet new people.) The average amount of exercise you should do each week is at least two-and-a-half hours.
2. Strength training
By lifting weights, youâre building strong muscles that will help your body burn more calories throughout the day, which will help lower your blood pressure. It also strengthens your joints and bones as well. This type of exercise can be dangerous if not done properly, so consult with your doctor and/or a fitness professional before embarking on it yourself.
Before you do any type of exercise, it is important to stretch your muscles and joints. It will make you more flexible and increase your balance as well. More importantly, it will prevent you from getting injured; you canât exercise if youâre hurt. It also helps to stretch after exercising.
How Often Should You Exercise?
You donât want to overdo it too much, so when doing a moderate activity such as walking, you should aim for at least 30 minutes a day, five times a week. If you have a busy schedule, you can get away with exercising for 20 minutes a day, about three to four times a week.
If youâre not someone who works out often, it would be a good idea to ease into your routine; start off slow and gradually build up your endurance. Start by taking five to 10 minutes to warm up and stretch to get your blood flowing.
After you have warmed up, itâs time to figure out what your intensity level should be. Generally, you should be able to carry on a conversation while you are exercisingâthis is usually a good way to gage the appropriate intensity level. The last part of the exercise is the cooling down phase. You donât want to just suddenly stop; you want to gradually slow down, especially if your blood pressure is very high.
Staying motivated is not as hard as you may think. Once you start exercising and feeling more energetic, you wonât want to stop. If that still isnât enough motivation, then try these helpful tips:
- Pick a time and exercise at that same time every day. Eventually, it will become a regular part of your daily routine without you even realizing it.
- Dress accordingly. If youâre uncomfortable, youâre more likely to skip exercising. If youâre exercising outdoors, make sure you dress for the weather, not to impress. Wear layers that you can easily take off as you gradually begin to sweat.
- Take your blood pressure before and after you exercise; it could be high before you work out, but when you are done exercising, it will be considerably lower. Nothing boosts motivation like results and success.
- You should always set realistic goals for yourself. For instance, if you are doing strength training, donât set a weight you know you wonât be able to liftânothing kills motivation like failure.
The only way exercising is going to work for you is if you value your health. A lot of people donât think that having high blood pressure is a big deal and they tend to ignore it.
That is when heart disease kicks inâbut by that time, it could be too late. No more excuses! Once you begin the journey to lowering your blood pressure, you need to stick with it.
This is your health that weâre talking about here; at the end of the day, no one is going to take care of you better than yourself.
See More :
- Foods that Raise Blood Pressure
- Ultimate Guide to the Best Supplements to Lower Blood Pressure Fast
- Top 11 Homeopathic Remedies for High Blood Pressure
- DASH Diet: 20 Superfoods to Lower High Blood Pressure
Cunha, J.P., âHigh Blood Pressure Hypertension,â MedicineNet web site; http://www.medicinenet.com/high_blood_pressure_hypertension/page5.htm, last accessed May 6, 2015.
âExercise Tips for Those With High Blood Pressure,â WebMD web site; http://www.webmd.com/hypertension-high-blood-pressure/safe-exercise-tips, last accessed May 6, 2015.
Orenstein, B.W., âThe Best Exercise for Hypertension: A Little Goes a Long Way,â Everyday Health web site, April 18, 2012; http://www.everydayhealth.com/hypertension/the-best-exercise-for-hypertension-a-little-goes-a-long-way.aspx.