Lowering Blood Pressure Slideshow: Exercise Tips For Getting Started


High blood pressure affects about 1 in 3 American adults and increases your risk of heart disease and stroke. Exercise, weight management, and a healthy diet are important ways to help prevent high blood pressure. Working out also boosts the effectiveness of blood pressure medication if you’re already being treated for hypertension. Be sure to check with your doctor before starting a fitness program.

Put the Fun Back in Exercise

Find activities you enjoy and aim for 30 minutes a day of “exercise” on most days of the week. Daily housework, gardening, washing windows, using the stairs, carrying your groceries, walking at the mall, or riding bikes with the kids all add up to exercise that benefits your heart.

Tip: Increase activity by parking at the end of the lot, or get off the bus a stop early and walk to your destination.

Hit the Gym

You don’t need to belong to a gym to become more active. But some people find it easier to focus on their workout in a gym setting. As an added bonus, the trainer at your local fitness center can teach you how to use the equipment properly to avoid injury. If any move feels wrong, check with your trainer. Depending on your health and physical condition, some exercises may not be recommended.

Strengthen Your Heart

Resistance exercise can be done in many ways, such as with free weights, weight machines, exercise bands, or by doing abdominal crunches or curl-ups.  Resistance training helps reduce body fat, increase muscle mass, and boost your metabolic rate. Losing as little as 10 pounds can reduce or help prevent high blood pressure in many overweight individuals. Check with your doctor before starting a new weight-training program.

Can’t Take the Heat? Then Swim

Heart-pumping conditioning exercise is important for lowering blood pressure. But if you can’t take the heat, try swimming at your local “Y” or fitness center. Swimming for 30 minutes reduces the amount of circulating adrenaline in the body and relaxes blood vessels. Swimming can help lower your pulse rate and lower blood pressure.

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