The benefits of exercise for blood pressure are largely due to its ability to lower systolic blood pressure – the pressure in the arteries when the heart is beating, expressed as the highest number on a blood pressure reading. A growing body of research is attempting to provide more accurate information about which sports might benefit hypertensive patients most. However, a recent line of research has identified the five best types of exercise for high blood pressure.
Researchers suggest that jogging, running, walking, cycling, and swimming – if practiced for at least 30 minutes seven days a week – could produce the most promising results.
Current recommendations for people at increased risk of hypertension recommend an average of half an hour of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise five to seven days per week, with the researchers essentially emphasizing this consistency.
Some studies have shown that running and walking have the greatest effects on blood pressure in hypertensive people.
An experiment involving 35 women and 32 men between the ages of 55 and 80 asked participants to follow three different daily schedules.
CONTINUE READING: Back Pain Exercises: The “harrowing” exercise you should AVOID or risk the risk of back pain
Each plan was run in random order and separated with a six day break in between.
One plan consisted of eight hours of continuous sitting, while a second consisted of an hour of sitting before 30 minutes of walking on a moderate-intensity treadmill, followed by 6.5 hours of sitting.
Under the third plan, participants were asked to sit for an hour before walking on a treadmill for 30 minutes, followed by 6.5 hours of sitting, interrupted every 30 minutes with three minutes of walking at light intensity.
The results showed that blood pressure was lowered in both men and women who participated in all three exercise plans.
DO NOT MISS:
Michael Wheeler, the study’s author, said, “In both men and women, the average rate of drop in average systolic blood pressure after exercise and sitting breaks in this population was nearly as high as would be expected from antihypertensive drugs Risk heart disease and stroke. “
The effects were more pronounced with systolic pressure, which is believed to be a stronger predictor of heart problems than with diastolic pressure.
However, researchers emphasize the importance of consistency in keeping blood pressure in healthy ranges, as blood values do not stay low indefinitely.
A 2020 study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology by a team from the Institute of Cardiovascular Science at University College showed the promising effects of consistent exercise.
In particular, they found that first-time marathon runners who trained for the London Marathon in 2016 and 2017 showed significant improvements in blood pressure and a four-year reduction in vascular age.
Harvard University researchers warned that not all antihypertensive strengthening exercises are harmless to health.
Recent studies have also shown the negative effects of other forms of exercise on blood pressure, particularly isometric resistance training, a form of physical strength training.
Deepak L. Bhatt, editor-in-chief at Harvard Heart Letter, stated that isometric exercises, usually performed against opposing forces like the wall or floor, could raise blood pressure significantly.
These dynamic exercises usually aim to work the muscles and joints and are often practiced with rubber bands, dumbbells, or other free weights.
Bhatt explained, “When you do any type of exercise – be it aerobics, weight training, stretching, or even balance exercises – both your blood pressure and heart rate rise to meet the higher oxygen needs of your muscles.
“Some research suggests that isometric exercise can raise blood pressure more than dynamic exercise, but the evidence is still inconclusive.”
As a general guideline, an optimal blood pressure between 90/60 mmHg and 120/80 mmHg is considered. Blood pressure above 140 mmHg is associated with an increased risk of stroke, kidney disease, and dementia.