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Exercise for Better Blood Pressure

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Physical activity is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. But did you know that exercise can help lower blood pressure more effectively than pharmaceuticals?

Regular movement causes changes within the cardiovascular system that lead to lower blood pressure. Certain types of exercise are better than others for promoting these positive changes. Especially if you’re short on time, performing these exercises will help you get the most benefits.

How does exercise lower blood pressure?

During physical activity, your blood pressure may increase temporarily to help push more oxygen-rich blood to your muscles. In the immediate period following exercise, your blood pressure will decrease. Even just a single exercise session has proven antihypertensive benefits.

Over time, routine exercise will decrease blood pressure even more. But how exactly does this happen?

  • Decreased vascular resistance: It’s theorized that regular exercise helps lower vascular resistance — the force the blood has to push against while being pumped through the body.
  • Decreased inflammation: Carrying extra body fat can keep your body in a constant state of low-grade inflammation. Regular exercise keeps away the extra pounds and inflammation, leading to lower blood pressure.
  • Decreased oxidative stress: Regular exercise has an antioxidant effect, helping the body remove free radicals. If the body can’t remove these free radicals, it may enter a state of oxidative stress, leading to higher blood pressure.
  • Improved endothelial function: Endothelial cells line the walls of your blood vessels. The health of these cells helps promote better blood flow and lower blood pressure.

Exercise vs. pharmaceuticals for blood pressure

Exercise is more effective than pharmaceuticals for managing high blood pressure. This was shown in a study on individuals with resistant hypertension. Resistant hypertension is defined as blood pressure greater than 140/90 despite the use of three pharmaceuticals, or the use of four or more pharmaceuticals. In 50 individuals with resistant hypertension, a two to three-month exercise program led to a significant reduction in blood pressure. 

At Natural Heart Doctor, we believe that you don’t have to depend on multiple drugs to control your blood pressure. Resistant hypertension happens because pharmaceuticals don’t target the underlying causes of high blood pressure. 

Drugs can’t fix the real problem, but exercise does. Simply moving your body every day can create long-term positive changes within your cardiovascular system. Even better, you don’t have to worry about any side effects.

If you’re trying to come off pharmaceuticals and control your blood pressure naturally, make sure you’re working closely with a supportive doctor. Add exercise into your routine before cutting back on pharmaceutical use. Also, make sure you’re monitoring your blood pressure closely.

What exercise is best for high blood pressure?

When it comes to exercise, the options are endless and all types are beneficial. However, certain types of exercise have more blood-pressure-lowering effects than others. If you don’t have much free time, make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck. For your lowest blood pressure, try one of our evidence-based recommendations.

HIIT

HIIT, or high-intensity interval training, is possibly the best exercise for high blood pressure. HIIT combines short bursts of intense exercise alternated with rest periods or lower intensity exercise. This type of exercise is excellent for people who are short on time. HIIT condenses the benefits of long periods of moderate-intensity activity in a shorter time.

A team of researchers compared the benefits of HIIT against MICT, or moderate-intensity continuous training. In this study, MICT included walking or running for 47 minutes. 

While both forms of exercise led to a decrease in blood pressure, the reduction of systolic blood pressure was significantly higher with HIIT. Also, only HIIT led to an improvement in endothelial function, which plays a key role in the ability of your blood vessels to relax and dilate.

Brisk walks & biking

Aerobic exercise uses continuous muscle contraction to get your heart working harder. Walking and biking are easy and fun ways to get moving. Plus, getting out into the sunshine boosts your vitamin D and supports blood pressure regulation.

While the benefits may not be as significant as HIIT, aerobic exercise has proven to help lower blood pressure. Both walking and biking reduce arterial stiffness, which lowers blood pressure by allowing your blood to flow more easily through the vessels. 

Research showed that walking or biking three times per week for at least 40 minutes per session lowered systolic pressure by an average of 7.1 points and diastolic pressure by an average of 5.1 points.

Blood pressure may be most significantly reduced in the hours immediately after an exercise session. For the most benefit, try taking shorter walks multiple times throughout the day.

Hiking

Hiking has all the same benefits as walking, with the added challenge of more resistance. Depending on the terrain, hiking can be more of a HIIT workout as the varying challenges and inclines require more intense effort at times. A study performed on 71 males with metabolic syndrome found that a three-week hiking vacation led to weight loss and reduced blood pressure

Hiking is free and accessible for everyone. All you need is a pair of hiking shoes! You can choose to start with easier hikes and work your way up in difficulty. Hiking is also a great way to spend time in nature, which can improve sleep and lower stress, further supporting blood pressure.

Resistance Training

Resistance training includes any exercise that requires muscles to contract against a weight or force. You can use free weights, resistance bands, or bodyweight exercises in your own home. As you perform different workouts, it’s crucial to rest each muscle group for at least 48 hours.

Resistance training is a great way to build muscle. As you build more muscle and burn off more fat, inflammation will decrease. Research indicates that resistance training lowers blood pressure and may also reduce the risk of stroke, coronary artery disease, and mortality.

Next steps

If exercise has never been a part of your routine, it may feel intimidating to get started. We’re here to help! Here are some of our top tips for getting started with daily movement:

  • Try starting with shorter durations and slowly work your way up to a goal of five times per week for a minimum of 30 minutes.
  • Add exercise to your daily routine and make it a habit. 
  • Get outdoors whenever possible! This will help boost your vitamin D levels.
  • Find a buddy and exercise together. You can help hold each other accountable for planned workouts.
  • Make sure you adequately hydrate before and after exercise with filtered water.

Most importantly, make sure that you enjoy your movement! The best type of movement is what you’re willing to do every day. If you don’t enjoy our suggestions, don’t let that keep you from getting moving. Try yoga, swimming, dancing, fitness classes, or any other exercise that lights you up! Check out our Movement page for more tips on reclaiming ancestral movement and protecting your heart.

Eat Well · Live Well · Think Well 


Medical Review 2022: Dr. Lauren Lattanza NMD

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Dr. James Kneller is one of the nation’s leading heart rhythm specialists. Dr. Kneller is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) in Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology, Cardiovascular Disease, and Internal Medicine.

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About Dr. Lauren Lattanza NMD, FACC

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I went to Arizona State University where I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a depth in physiology and minor in Spanish. After my undergraduate degree I was working on prerequisite classes towards medical school, which is when I came to learn that my values identified best with the principles of naturopathic medicine. I knew that I wanted to help patients identify the causes of disease and be able to offer treatments which would improve their health rather than simply treating symptoms.

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About Dr. Jack Wolfson DO, FACC

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Dr. Jack Wolfson is a board-certified cardiologist, Amazon best-selling author, husband, father, and the nation’s #1 Natural Heart Doctor.

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Chiropractic

Our chiropractor is an expert at adjustments and holistic chiropractic care and works closely in conjunction with the other health care experts at Natural Heart Doctor.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

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We use specially formulated natural vitamins and minerals that are injected into a vein to prevent or treat dehydration. Ideal for people in Arizona.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

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Stimulate your body’s natural healing abilities and promote physical and emotional well-being with acupuncture at Natural Heart Doctor.

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Health Coaching

Our health coaches use evidence based skillful conversation, clinical interventions, and strategies to engage you actively and safely in health behavior changes.

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Cardio Tests

We use the most advanced testing in the world to assess heart health and to identify the root cause of your health issues.

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Office Visits

Schedule an office visit with one of our cardiologists, holistic physicians, chiropractor, or health coaches.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Frequently Asked Questions

I’d like to receive an online second opinion from Natural Heart Doctor. What do I do next?

You can initiate a second opinion online through our website at any time. To begin, select the team member you’d like to speak with and open an account.

Click here for cardiologist Dr. Jack Wolfson.

Naturopathic Medical Doctor Dr. Lauren Lattanza. Get details.

Naturopathic Medical Doctor Dr. Tonia Rainier. Get details.

Click here for  Natural Heart Doctor Health Coach.

Alternatively, you can email health@naturalheartdoctor.com. A member of our care team will help guide you through the process of starting a second opinion.

What is the cost of a Natural Heart Doctor Online Second Opinion?

The cost for most second opinions varies by team member. This fee includes information collection, a phone or video consultation, a second opinion from a Natural Heart Doctor specialist and guidance throughout the process from your personal Care Team at Natural Heart Doctor.

Cardiologist Dr. Jack Wolfson’s Second Opinion Fee is $1500.

Holistic Physician’s Dr. Lauren Lattanza’s Second Opinion Fee is $250.

Naturopathic Physician Dr. Tonia Rainier’s Second Opinion Fee is $250.

Note: We apply the Online Second Opinion Call fee as a credit to any future consultations with Natural Heart Doctor, should you choose them.

Will my insurance cover the cost of a Natural Heart Doctor Online Second Opinion?

Most likely, no. Most health plans do not cover online second opinions or consultations. You are responsible for the cost of our second opinion. Natural Heart Doctor cannot file a claim with your insurance carrier, nor can we provide a procedure (CPT) code for this service.

What is the timeline to receive an online second opinion?

We do our best to schedule your second opinion as quickly as possible. Typically, it takes 5 to 7 business days after your information has been collected to receive your phone or video online second opinion.

What information do you need in advance of our call?

Our office will send you a short questionnaire to complete and return. We DO NOT need your complete medical records.

How many questions can I ask the expert during our call?

You may ask a maximum of five questions. This is to ensure that the expert has sufficient time to devote to each question. All questions must be finalized before your online meeting.

What should I expect to receive once my second opinion is complete?

You will receive a summary of our discussion along with our second opinion. The second opinion will be in written form. After you have reviewed the second opinion, a Natural Heart Doctor clinician will follow up with you by phone to address general medical questions about the information provided in the second opinion.

What if I have follow-up questions for the expert after I have reviewed my second opinion?

If you have a clarifying question about an expert’s response to one of the questions in your second opinion, and the Natural Heart Doctor clinician is unable to address it, then you may request a follow up session for an additional fee. 

Is my medical and payment information secure?

Natural Heart Doctor is strongly committed to protecting the privacy and security of all our patients. Our website meets all federal requirements for protecting personal health information under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). All financial transactions are processed by Natural Heart Doctor securely using industry standard payment processing tools.

I would rather visit Natural Heart Doctor for an in-person appointment. What should I do next?

If you would prefer an in-person appointment at Natural Heart Doctor instead of an online second opinion, please call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Can I schedule a follow up appointment with the specialist who provided my online second opinion?

Yes, we’re happy to help you on an extended basis. Our clinician can discuss options with you when presenting our second opinion summary.