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Exercising to Lower or Prevent High Blood Pressure

Many people still do not realize how effectively exercise can help you control your blood pressure.

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I bet you wish you had more control over your blood pressure.

Right?

Then, I have some good news.

Exercise may be one of the best ways you can exercise control (sorry - pun intended) over your blood pressure. Despite the huge amount of available information about exercise and health in general, many people still do not realize how effectively exercise can help you control your blood pressure.

How?

Fortunately, it is all fairly simple to explain and understand.

As you probably already know, as you age, you are more prone to high blood pressure. Unfortunately, we all age and hence we all are more prone to hypertension, just a fancy name for high blood pressure. While aging itself cannot be helped, exerting some control over your blood pressure as you age is easily possible with regular moderate exercise.

Exercise can also help you prevent many of the risks of high blood pressure which can cause stroke and kidney disease.

Even if you already have high blood pressure, exercising can still help you get it under control...and keep it there.

When you exercise, your heart gets stronger. When your heart is stronger, it can pump more blood more easily causing less pressure on your arteries. While exercise may not work 100% for everyone most people can easily lower their blood pressure by around ten millimeters. Over time, regular cardiovascular exercise also tends to widen existing blood vessels somewhat, and, if done long enough at the proper level, even create new ones, thus relieving pressure on the existing system. Blood vessel walls tend to be stronger in a healthy body, and exercise helps keep your body healthy.

Even if you do not have high blood pressure yet, you can take these precautions to prevent yourself from getting it.

Along with controlling your blood pressure you can also lose weight or maintain your desired weight. Managing weight also affects your blood pressure positively as hypertension tends to increase as your weight does...at least in those who are overfat.

You see, weight itself is not always the key focus as a healthy person in great physical condition may weigh more than the charts say they should, and yet be in tiptop physical condition.  

In his prime, for example, by the charts and his BMI (Body Mass Index), Arnold Schwarzenegger was "overweight", as are most bodybuilders, both male and female, and many other well-trained and conditioned athletes, yet he was also in excellent physical condition.  It's not always about simply getting rid of weight, but more about burning fat away which is the greater priority as body fat contributes to hypertension more than the weight itself.

People who are obese, or overfat, are prone to having high blood pressure and this means an increased risk of stroke or kidney or heart diseases.  If you are one of these people, get moving and start exercising! Now, this doesn't mean you have to overdo yourself, take it slowly at first and work your way up. You will start feeling better as you continue a regular routine.

The rule of thumb is to do at least thirty minutes of exercise a day if possible. Thirty minutes can be hard to do for some people, mainly because they can't find the time. If this is the case, you can choose to do short bursts of exercise. You could exercise for ten minutes three times a day throughout the day for example. At the end of the day you'll have done your thirty minutes!

However, if you really want to exercise to lose weight, you may want to consider exercising for about 45 minutes at a time several times a week.  Read this article, Weight Loss: Why One Forty Minute Walk Is Better Than Two Twenty Minute Walks, to learn more.

When starting any exercise routine, of course, you will want to have a heart-to-heart talk with your doctor first. There are certain things you will want to have your doctor's okay for. I know many of you will blow this off, but, if you are a man over forty or a woman over fifty it might really be better NOT to skip this and DO have that talk with your doctor first.

While not getting enough exercise and eating the wrong foods in the wrong amounts are major contributing factors to the risk of high blood pressure in society at large, certain other specific behaviors also place people at risk.  

Smoking, for example, increases blood pressure.  It also makes it hard for some people to get the exercise they need.  For those who find it diffcult to quit "cold turkey", and trust me, I quit this way twice in my life and know how it feels, there are many products to help you quit smoking.

Even though there is no doubt that the benefits of exercise are wide and deep, people who have some sort of chronic health condition, high cholesterol, and even high blood pressure itself can put themselves at risk when exercising. I repeat; be sure to talk to your doctor first before starting any sort of workout plan. If you do not normally visit the doctor regularly, take the time to do so now. It is better to know exactly what health you are in before doing any strenuous activity or even formal exercise plans and programs.

You shold always warm up before starting any exercise routine. The warm up prepares all parts of the body not only for the exertion to come, but preps the body so thit it gets the most health benefit from exercising.  Begin slowly and gradually build the intensity. Be sure to continuously breathe smoothly throughout your routine. If you are experiencing difficulty breathing during or after a workout, or even a set of exercises, you may be trying to do too much too fast.  

While it is important to challenge yourself to higher levels of performance, it is dangerous to hurry the process.  This is counterproductive as it tends to make you not want to exercise, and you will get the most value from a lifetime of regular moderate exercise than you will from highly stressful workouts done occasionally.  

If you are not in good shape and accustomed to exercise already, it will be almost impossible to stick with a program of intense exercise over the long haul, and this sort of approach is one reason many give up after only a few days (or even hours) on their new exercise program.

A tip: You should be aware that holding your breath can cause your blood pressure to increase and the key purpose of exercising is to help control or lower your blood pressure.  In fact, proper breathing techniques can help lower blood pressure as well.  If you cannot breathe comfortably during exercise, back off.  You are probably trying to do too much.

A good discipline to learn which provides proper breathing, exercise, and relaxation in one package is yoga.

If you experience any discomforts or pain while exercising then by all means notify your doctor immediately. It is better to take full precautions even if it ends up being a little thing in the end. Once you start your exercise program, you will also want to track your progress. 

Remember, you don't just do the same level of exercise forever.  YOU will probably be out of shape and have at least a little difficulty at first.  You will have to keep moving forward to keep enjoying the maximum health benefits of exercise.

If your schedule, or budget, will not allow you to see your doctor regularly; purchase a home blood pressure monitoring device. They are readily available at most pharmacies and many grocery stores and retail stores.  While there are many of these devices out there

You want to check your blood pressure before you begin and again when you are finished. You want to make sure your fitness plan is working and how much it's working.  As mentioned earlier, many stores have various personal blood pressure monitors for checking your own blood pressure as well. 

While checking your progress regularly is a good idea, don't be obsessive about it.  Recognize also that regular checks by trained personnel are better than most do-it-yourself measures.  While a single blood pressure reading does provide some information, the best indicator is a series of readings taken over time.

This is why when you are in the hospital, they continually check your blood pressure instead of just taking it when you are admitted.

In choosing to perform regular, moderate exercise, you are choosing to lower your chances of getting high blood pressure.

If you already have it, you are helping to control it. This means you are lessening your risk for strokes or heart diseases while strengthening your immune system, protecting against many other conditions such as cancer, and performing a major anti-aging function.

No matter your age, gender, or ethnicity, it is never too late to get started. Talk with your doctor today about an exercise program that is right for you. Your body, and your loved ones, will thank you in the end.

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Exercising to Lower or Prevent High Blood Pressure  Copyright 2014 by Donovan Baldwin

Page Updated 5:55 PM Friday 5/23/2014