For many living with high blood pressure, the question of safely engaging in exercise is a serious concern. The answer is a resounding yes, but with careful consideration to the type of exercise, the intensity, and the all-important caveat of consulting with a healthcare professional before embarking on a new fitness regime.
High blood pressure, or hypertension, affects a significant portion of the adult population worldwide. It’s a condition that, if left unmanaged, can lead to serious health complications such as heart disease, stroke, and kidney damage. Fortunately, regular physical activity is a cornerstone of blood pressure management and overall cardiovascular health.
Cardiologist Recommended Top Exercises for Blood Pressure Control
1. Walking: Perhaps the most accessible form of exercise, walking can be immensely beneficial. It’s low-impact, can be done anywhere, and requires no special equipment. A brisk walk for 30 minutes most days of the week can help lower blood pressure and improve heart health. Choose morning, noon or afternoon. Outside is best vs. indoor on a treadmill. Walk with a friend. Walk your dog. Walk with someone you love.
2. Cycling: This is my personal favorite, especially mountain biking outdoors. While both stationary and outdoor cycling are excellent for heart health and managing blood pressure, outdoors is best. For indoor activity, we recommend this option. The focus of this product is HIIT- high intensity interval training. I use it 3-4x per week.
3. Strength Training: Moderate weight training can help reduce fat, build muscle, and improve blood pressure. However, it’s important to proceed with caution. Heavy lifting can temporarily increase blood pressure during the activity. Opt for lighter weights with more repetitions. Push-ups, pull-ups, squats, lunges etc.
4. Water Activities: Swimming is a full-body workout that is ideal for those with high blood pressure. It increases your heart rate, improves circulation, and can lower blood pressure over time. The buoyancy of the water also means less strain on your joints and muscles. Also, kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding are two of my favorites.
5. Yoga and Tai Chi: These gentle forms of exercise focus on breathing, balance, and flexibility. Studies have shown that regular practice can contribute to lower blood pressure, reduce stress, and improve overall cardiovascular health. Breathwork is included in this section. Practice it daily. (Read more about breathwork here)
Monitor Your BP
It’s crucial for individuals with high blood pressure to monitor their levels regularly. This can help track how exercise affects your blood pressure over time and adjust the intensity of your workouts accordingly.
Make a Plan
It is important to be active every day. Stand as opposed to sitting. Walk daily. Put your activities on a schedule. Follow the schedule. Use the following as an example, but feel free to add/subtract and modify as needed:
- Walk or bike for 20 minutes every day before breakfast.
- Walk or bike for 20 minutes every day before dinner.
- Do at least 20 minutes of muscle building, 3x per week.
- Yoga once per week.
- Breathwork daily for at least 5 minutes.