How does exercise reduce your blood pressure?
11 Oct 2023 00:01AM by Chris Parr - Strength and Conditioning Activist
A new report published recently by the World Health Organisation (WHO) shows that a third of all adults globally suffer from high blood pressure.
Whether it’s from a high-salt diet, lack of exercise, air pollution, excessive alcohol or smoking, high blood pressure is preventable with a few simple steps. Off the back of its study, the WHO suggests that being physically active can help to lower your blood pressure. It says:
“There is strong evidence of an inverse relationship between physical activity and incidence of hypertension among adults with normal blood pressure, and that physical activity reduces blood pressure among adults with prehypertension and normal blood pressure.”
Here's how exercise lowers your blood pressure
Blood pressure is the force with which your heart pumps blood around your body. Your heart is constantly beating but when you exercise, it needs to distribute more oxygen around your body at a faster pace.
Since your heart is one big muscle, it is capable of getting stronger as well as weaker. The stronger it is, the less effort it takes for your heart to pump blood around your body. And that’s what exercise helps to do: strengthen your heart. In turn, this reduces the force on your arteries.
Therefore, regular exercise will reduce your blood pressure.
What types of exercise should I do?
If you don’t have a regular workout routine already and you suffer from high blood pressure, or are at risk, it’s best to speak with your GP before starting a new routine.
If you’re ready to get started, the types of exercises that will help your heart health are the ones that increase your heart rate and breathing rate. This will be aerobic exercise like jogging, swimming, cycling, walking, dancing and tennis. The options are endless!
What else can help to reduce my blood pressure?
While exercise is a key component of reducing your blood pressure, you can’t overlook other parts of your lifestyle. Opt for a healthier diet full of wholegrains and vegetables as well as less salt. (If you need help, why not speak with one of our nutrition coaches?)
If you’re carrying a little extra weight, you may find that reducing your weight slightly will decrease the strain on your heart. It will also help to keep within a healthy limit for alcohol consumption.
Got more questions? Be sure to reach out to your GP or health provider to find out how exercise can benefit you. And, when you’re ready to dive into a healthier you, we look forward to seeing you.