It’s Not Too Late: Improve your Blood Pressure with Exercise

Medications offer a quick fix to many health problems that we face today. The only problem is that this type of fix is often superficial. It eliminates some of the immediate risk, but does nothing to address lifestyle changes that played a role in the health concern in the first place. Hypertension is no different.

Hypertension is a condition in which blood pressure is persistently elevated. This means that pressure exerted on the arterial walls is high as the heart works to pump blood throughout the body. This is dangerous because it can cause arterial damage leading to heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, and heart attack.

Though poor lifestyle choices such as smoking, obesity, poor diet, lack of exercise, high sodium intake, and stress may have gotten you into the hypertension dog house to begin with, changing those lifestyle behaviors now can actually go a long way to get you out too, with exercise being a significant one that is proven to benefit blood pressure.

What the Experts Say

Research supports that low intensity exercise offers a significant resource for lowering blood pressure as it can lower systolic blood pressure (representing the top number) by approximately 11 mm/Hg and diastolic blood pressure (representing the bottom number) by approximately 9 mm/Hg in individuals with mild to moderate hypertension.

Obviously there are some individuals with extremely high blood pressure, such as those who resting systolic pressure is above 200 mm/Hg and/or diastolic pressure above 115 mm/Hg, that should avoid exercise and follow strict adherence to doctor’s orders.

Tips for Blood Pressure Improvement

  • Make the commitment. Even a small amount of exercise each day can help diminish the long term outcomes that accompany high blood pressure. Decide you want to make the changes necessary to improve your health, and then make the time for it.
  • Set aside time for 20-30 minute exercise sessions at least 4 times per week: Consistency is important for any improvements to health. Find a time that works for you and stick with it!
  • Warm up and Cool Down Properly: With hypertension, it is a good idea to ease into exercise by doing an adequate warm up to avoid sudden rise in blood pressure, and to allow appropriate time to cool down at the conclusion.

Using exercise as a means to help control your hypertension will give added benefits as well including better body composition, stress relief, strength, energy, and the list goes on and on. Be sure to talk to your doctor about how you can incorporate exercise into your blood pressure management plan. It’s never too late to improve your health!

You may also want to check out this site featuring popular home gym systems that can help you improve your level of health and fitness.

Bryant, Cedric X. Dr., (Jul/Aug 2006). Ace FitnessMatters. Retrieved on December 8, 2012 from

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