It is fairly common that exercise can help lower blood pressure, it also gives you more energy while protecting against cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, high cholesterol, and diabetes. Regular exercise also helps the heart become more efficient, so it does not have to work as hard.
Prior to starting any exercise program, please contact your doctor with any concerns or issues you may be having.
- Do not be discouraged if your blood pressure does not decrease immediately. It takes months for regular exercise to affect blood pressure.
- Lifting weights is very beneficial. Lifting weights will cause a temporary increase in your blood pressure but will return to your normal at the conclusion of your work-out. Be careful, lifting too heavy of weights will cause your blood pressure to increase and may cause light headiness and possibly other issues.
- When lifting weights or performing any physical activity REMEMBER TO BREATH. Holding ones breath could cause an increase in blood pressure, so take nice and even breaths "in through your nose, and out your mouth".
- Do not exercises where you put your arms above your head or do exercises where your head, drops below your heart. For example, stay away from overhead shoulder press and reaching for your toes from a standing position.
- Monitor your heart rate during exercise. My favorite and easiest way to monitor heart rate is to use the "talk test". If you can exercise and talk to a friend or family member without loosing your breath, you are in an appropriate heart rate level.
- Warm-up the body prior to exercising. A warm-up should be at least 8-10 minutes long to gradually increase the heart rate and prevent your heart rate and blood pressure to increase to abruptly.
- A cool-down is very important for the body, especially for those with high blood pressure. Never stop a work-out or physical activity without slowly bringing down the heart rate. Stretch out the muscles worked and focus on your breathing, slowly bringing down the heart rate.
- Please stop exercising if you feel:
- Weakness or fatigue
- Pressure or pain in your neck, arm, jaw or shoulder
- Irregular Heart Rate
- or if you feel any chest pain
Author: Samantha, MA Kinesiology