With anxiety and stress becoming a part and parcel of the modern lifestyle, one can hardly be surprised at the increasing rate of people falling prey to hypertension. This cardiovascular disease has been known to affect a vast majority of the population. In fact, it would not be wrong to say that almost every person has been affected by this disease. While certain drugs and medications have been found to be quite effective in controlling hypertension, certain lifestyle changes can also go a long way in bringing about an improvement. Along with changes in diet, it is also important to shake out of the sedentary lifestyle in order to bring about an improvement in the overall situation.
How Does Exercise Help in Hypertension?
Though blood pressure is expected to vary from one person to another, the normal reading generally rises from 90/60 at birth to 120/80 in a healthy adult. Patients suffering from hypertension need to make certain changes in their lifestyle in order to bring things under control. These lifestyle changes include surviving on a diet with less salt content, quitting smoking habits, reducing alcohol consumption and indulging in certain physical exercises.
The Mechanism of How Exercise Helps in Dealing with Hypertension or Lowering High Blood Pressure:
Exercising can contribute significantly in lowering the blood pressure by providing more energy to the body and easing stress and anxiety. It is important to note in this context that the hypertension or the blood pressure is likely to shoot up due to physical activity; however, it is also likely to reduce after a short while. In fact, the fitness quotient of a person can be judged by the rate at which his/her blood pressure comes back to normal- the faster it happens, the fitter the person is.
It is a proven fact that regular and consistent physical activity contribute in making the heart stronger. This means that a strong heart will require less effort in pumping blood through the arteries, thereby decreasing the force exerted on them, leading to lower blood pressure levels. The systolic blood pressure is likely to decrease by an average of 4 to 9 mmHg by regular exercise. Maintaining a healthy weight is also an important factor when it comes to decreasing blood pressure and it goes without saying that exercise plays an important role in the entire procedure. However, it has to be noted that the impact of consistent physical activity on the blood pressure levels takes some months to manifest and the benefit lasts as long as patients remain active.
Things to do Before Starting Exercise for Hypertension
There are certain things that people suffering from hypertension need to keep in mind before going for physical activities. While consulting the doctor tops the list, there are other factors that patients need to keep in mind as well.
- Medication for Hypertension Before Exercising: People with severe cases of hypertension may consider taking certain drugs such as, beta-blockers or calcium channel blockers that are likely to slow down the pace of heart.
- Warming up and Cooling down before Exercising with Hypertension: It is important to prepare the body before exercising by indulging in a small warm up session of around ten minutes. Hypertension patients need to cool down, that is, slow the pace of exercise instead of stopping abruptly.
- Professional Help for Exercising with Hypertension: It is best to seek professional help before going for intense physical activities. Trainers can be said to be in the best position for helping hypertension patients with the kind of activities they need to be indulged in.
- Slow Start of Exercises for People with Hypertension: It is also important to go for a slow start and then increase the intensity of the exercise gradually for best results.
Which is the Best Time for Exercise for Hypertension?
The best time for hypertension patients to indulge in physical activity is the morning. The heart tends to beat at a slower pace at this time after a good night’s rest thereby, leading to better results. In this context, it can also be said that any time of the day when the heart is beating at a normal, slow and restful pace can be considered to be the best time for people suffering from hypertension for indulging in exercise.
How Much Exercise is Safe for Hypertension?
It is best to consult the doctor on the duration of exercises if you have hypertension before going for them on a regular basis. It is best to go for a warm up of five to ten minutes at the very outset to prepare your body for the session. It is also important to increase the amount of physical activity gradually but consistently for people leading a sedentary lifestyle. It is normal for such people to take a few weeks to become thoroughly active. It is also important not to put too much strain on the body all at once and increase the intensity of activity slowly and gradually.
Opting for moderate activities such as, taking a walk for half an hour for five days a week or jogging for twenty minutes regularly can be seen as some of the best physical activities that can prove to be immensely beneficial for patients suffering from hypertension. It is also important to note that people need to slow down the activity instead of coming to an abrupt halt.
What Type of Exercise Helps in Hypertension?
It is best if people suffering from hypertension opt for exercises of moderate intensity instead of hitting the gym and going for strenuous physical activities. Activities such as jogging, swimming, biking and the like can prove to be immensely beneficial in lowering blood pressure and curing hypertension.
- Cardiovascular or Aerobic Exercises for Hypertension: Low intensity aerobic exercises, water aerobics, swimming, jogging, brisk walking, skating, jumping rope, bicycling and the like can make significant contribution in making the heart stronger, thereby, reducing blood pressure.
- Stretching Exercises to Help Hypertension: These exercises help in making the body flexible, aids in better movement and prevents injury.
- Strength Training for People with Hypertension: This category of exercises help in building strong muscles and is also a good choice for the joints and bones.
- Activities such as dancing and playing sports such as, tennis, badminton and the like can also help in lowering the blood pressure safely.
- People can also opt for household chores, viz, lawn mowing, mopping the floor, scrubbing, gardening, raking leaves and the like instead of the regular physical exercises in order to reduce blood pressure levels effectively.
- Patients could also consider weightlifting as another option that helps in lowering blood pressure levels and serves to cure hypertension.
Health experts have recommended about 150 minutes of moderate physical activity and 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity for people suffering from hypertension. Hence, the importance of exercises in lowering the blood pressure levels can be well understood from this context. Though there are a number of medications that allow people to control the conditions, these lifestyle changes can act as stimulants in lowering blood pressure levels significantly. Not only does it help in maintaining the blood pressure levels in the normal range for a longer period, it also brings about overall good health and wellbeing.