Exercise is undoubtedly a pillar-stone for a healthy lifestyle. Yet, 80% of Americans don't get enough exercise! A lack of physical activity can lead your body to the development of many health-related concerns. Notably, poor exercise regimens can result in high blood pressure.
Your blood pressure isn't going to lower without putting in some work. However, going too hard during a workout can strain the heart of someone who has high blood pressure. So, here are some tips for lowering your blood pressure through exercise.
Why Blood Pressure Management is Important
Almost 50% of adults have hypertension. One of the contributing factors to high blood pressure is unhealthy dietary habits.
Many who follow a Western Diet consume a lot of saturated fats, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL cholesterol), and refined sugars. Eventually, these compounds start to build-up in the system.
They create sticky plaques that cut off steady blood flow through the arteries. As a result, your heart doesn't get enough blood to pump throughout the body.
We rely on that blood to wash out toxins, free radicals, and pathogens. Therefore, a weaker heart leaves the system prone to the development of the disease.
Why Exercise Is Important for Blood Pressure
The heart relies on adequate blood flow to remain strong. Blood is almost like a medicine ball for the heart.
As an athlete would throw a medicine to a trainer, your heart takes blood and pushes it throughout the body. Then, your trainer throws the medicine ball back to you just as blood rushes back to the heart.
Essentially, the heart catches the blood and throws it over and over again. You would do the same with your trainer if you were tossing medicine balls.
Less blood is like training with smaller medicine balls. Eventually, your heart will get weaker. Over time, training with medicine balls with lower weights than you're used to will cause your biceps to lose definition.
Subsequently, hearts without adequate blood supply begin to atrophy. That's why high blood pressure is one of the leading causes of cardiovascular disease.
Benefits of Exercise for High Blood Pressure
Physical activity is essential for maintaining your blood pressure. In fact, exercise affects the body in three ways that will positively impact your heart health. Here are the top three.
Helps Lower Cholesterol
Exercise helps you burn off fat and calories. Fat stores LDL cholesterol and sticky carbohydrates that cause high blood pressure. Studies show that regular exercise can help lower LDL cholesterol.
Works Out the Heart
Working out also raises your heart rate, which causes your heart to pump blood harder. Regular exercise helps push blood through clogged arteries. This physical exertion forces blood cells to break up some fatty deposits, ultimately improving blood pressure.
Many studies connect high blood pressure to chronic stress. Unfortunately, 79% of Americans experience stress daily, which happens to be almost identical to the 80% who don't exercise enough. This connection makes sense because research proves that exercise helps produce endorphins. Endorphins are feel-good hormones that boost your mood and relax blood pressure.
Exercises for Lowering Blood Pressure
It's common to jump into a workout routine and give it your all. However, this haphazard approach might cause extra stress on your heart or cause an injury. It's best to go into exercise for blood pressure management educated and with a gameplan. Here is how your workout schedule should look!
- Saturday or Sunday: Be With Your Family or Do Light Exercise
- Monday: 1 hr. Cardio
- Tuesday: Weight Training or Resistance Training
- Wednesday: 30 min. Cardio, Yoga/Stretching
- Thursday: Weight Training or Resistance Training
- Friday: 1 Hour Cardio
- Saturday or Sunday: Yoga/Stretching/Light Exercise
High blood pressure prevents blood from making its way to and from the heart. Cardio exercises help expedite things a bit.
The goal of cardio workouts is to target the largest muscles. They require more oxygen, which means more blood. So, your heart and muscles begin this tug-of-war of your blood that eventually makes all parties healthier!
Many believe that high blood pressure makes exercising the heart impossible. That's because working out raises your systolic blood pressure. However, exercise can lower your overall blood pressure by up to 22 hours! So, regular exercise can keep your blood pressure stable.
The American Heart Association suggests at least 150 hours per week of cardio workouts. They recommend that 75 of those minutes be dedicated to intense heart exercises.
Doing cardiovascular exercises when you have heart problems or high blood pressure can be scary. It's important to start slow. Remember, the tortoise was the winner in the race.
Listen to your body as you start with light cardio exercises, such as:
- Jumping Jacks
- Raking Leaves
- Mowing Lawn
After a couple of weeks, you will get into a rhythm. You won't notice any shortness of breath or experience dizziness. Then, it might be worth stepping it up a bit. Push a little faster as you mow or bring weights with you to go for a hike.
When you're comfortable, graduate to more moderate cardio exercises:
- Trampoline Jumping
- Jumping Rope
Again, keep listening to your body. If one cardio exercise is pushing you too much, find another that's less strenuous. Everyone is different. The key is to find the right activities to complement your lifestyle.
Lastly, consider these exercises for vigorous cardio training:
- Self Defense Class
- HITT Fitness
- Climbing Stairs
Make sure to drink plenty of water as you exercise. Dehydration only adds stress to the body. Remember, stress is integral in raising your blood pressure!
Weight and Resistance Training
Strength training will help keep your body strong. This type of exercise also focuses on specific muscles, which requires adequate blood flow to specific areas of the body. Resultantly, your heart gets a pretty nice workout, too.
Weight training is a very common way to push your body TOO hard. You always want to start with low weights and high repetitions. The goal isn't to enter a Strong Man Contest...not yet, at least. You want to lower your blood pressure first.
The first step to proper weight training is to find your maximum weight. Whether you're doing leg presses or lat pulls, discover which number you can hit once.
You should use 40% of that number for your weight exercises. So, if you can bench 250 once, then use 100 pounds weights during training. The goal is to work your way up to 70% of your max, which would be 175 pounds in this example.
Many people don't have access to weights. You can still get strength conditioning done without heading to the gym. Buy resistance bands.
Resistance bands are excellent because they use your body weight and force to build strength. You can dictate the intensity, which helps you tailor how hard you work your heart.
When you are doing resistance bands and weight training, steer away from isometric exercises. That's when you put your body into the same pose for a long time without contracting or extending the muscle.
You want to move in a consistent and proper form. Staying in s shoulder shrug for too long or holding a leg extension can potentially do more harm than good.
For those who want to find a nice mix of cardio work and strength training, consider enrolling in a self-defense class. Boxing and sparring are excellent cardio workouts. However, contact with kicks and punches also strengthens your biceps, triceps, hamstrings, and quads!
Stretching and Yoga
Cardio exercises tend to be hard on knees, wrists, and joints. Meanwhile, weight training can make muscles sore. Yoga and stretching help nourish these aches while promoting calmness throughout the body.
Yoga involves stretching the body in poses. These poses are usually held for long periods of time. The yoga practitioner is prompted to breathe oxygen into the problematic areas to help expand any tension.
As we mentioned, isometric training is hazardous to those with high blood pressure. So, you will actually want to pick a faster yoga practice.
Stay away from Hatha and Ashtanga yoga. These practices prompt you to stay in positions to promote deeper healing.
With time, these might be good choices. However, you don't want to risk complications by pushing your body too hard, too soon.
Choose a Vinyasa flow that allows you to move from pose to pose seamlessly. You'll get a light cardio workout in while stretching out any sore muscles.
When you experience subtle pains from stretching, it is common to hold your breath. That can be problematic for someone with high blood pressure.
Make sure to breathe into every posture, especially as you transition from one to the next. The goal is to marry your breath to your movements so that everything flows as one.
Lastly, stay away from poses that require you to put your hands over your head. These limitations include popular postures, like Warrior I, Chair Pose, and some Mountain Pose variations.
You will still get the benefits by how the feet are placed and the movements you make with your core. Keep your hands at your side until you do poses that require you to raise your arms to the heart or below it.
Warnings and Side Effects of High Blood Pressure Workouts
Always remember to start slowly. Life is a marathon, not a sprint. Developing high blood pressure didn't happen overnight. Neither will lowering it.
Be sure to talk to your physician before making any changes to your wellness routine. They can give you better insights into which exercises are best to meet your wellness plan.
If you ever feel dizzy, short of breath, or have tightness in the jaw, stop exercising. Drink water and get some rest. In the event that issues persist, consider seeking a medical professional.
Sometimes your body needs a little support when you make changes to your health routine. Nutretics Heart Health is the best workout buddy you will ever meet.
This all-natural supplement is rich in botanicals, vitamins, and minerals that support a healthy heart. It contains garlic powder, which can lower LDL cholesterol while improving blood flow naturally.
Speaking of better blood flow, this formula is fortified with olive leaf extract. Olive leaf extract is rich in oleuropein. This compound helps relax blood vessels so that they can push through tight arteries more efficiently.
Lastly, this all-natural supplement contains over 100% of your daily recommended intake of Vitamin C. Vitamin C is essential for a healthy immune system. However, it also acts as a diuretic, helping your body flush out toxins and cholesterol that can cause high blood pressure.
What you consume is just as important as exercise. Start your workout routine the right way with Nutretics Heart Health Blood Pressure Support Supplement.