17 Dec How to lower blood pressure through exercise
High blood pressure is a serious health problem, but you can often treat and prevent it effectively using exercise. In fact, if you are smart about how to lower blood pressure through exercise you may not need medication.
The key is to use physical activity to confront some of the underlying factors in high blood pressure: heart health, stress, sleep, weight and diet. Exercise can help with all of them.
Heart strength is how to lower blood pressure
When your blood pressure is too high your heart and arteries are working harder than necessary, and your major organs are also at risk. You can help this by strengthening your heart, so it can pump blood with less effort.
To strengthen your heart muscles, include plenty of cardiovascular exercise in your workout, because this will raise your heart rate in a controlled way. Doing this can eventually reduce your blood pressure as well as or even better than some medications.
Exercise helps with stress
Emotional stress causes your body to engage its “fight or flight” responses, so your heart and breathing speed up, and your muscles tense for action. Your body can suffer serious, long-term damage if this happens too often.
But you can also use exercise to address emotional stress as a cause of high blood pressure. After exercising your body will be flush with hormones called endorphins, which help your muscles to relax and your breathing slow down.
You can also use exercising as way of taking your mind off the causes of your stress, which can help you to get perspective and make it less likely that you will get that fight-or-flight response next time.
You will sleep better if you exercise
Researchers aren’t totally certain why, but lack of sleep seems to contribute to high blood pressure, whereas getting seven to eight hours per night may help to treat or prevent it.
Different types of exercise cause your body to respond in different ways, but the general effect is usually to help you sleep.
Strength exercises and cardiovascular exercises work the muscles, heart and lungs dynamically, and both have been found to help with insomnia. You can also benefit from less dynamic workouts, like yoga and tai chi, which calm you mentally and tire you out physically with strength, flexibility and balance work.
Improve your diet to lower high blood pressure
A recent study found that increasing how much you exercise can also help you to improve your diet. It seems that the natural tendency is to eat better as you exercise more.
One reason improving your diet is likely to help bring your blood pressure down is that healthier food tends to have less salt in, and excessive salt intake is a leading cause of high blood pressure.
Reducing weight takes a load off your heart
More exercise and a better diet will often lead to weight loss, which is more good news. If you have less body fat, then your heart can pump blood more easily, so your blood pressure should come down.
Also, if you get stressed about your weight then you’re addressing a cause of stress, which is a big factor in high blood pressure.
Overall, exercise is a vital part of how to lower blood pressure and keep it low. It can help you to strengthen your heart, reduce stress, improve your diet and help you to lose weight.