High blood pressure: The ONE activity you should do to lower your blood pressure
High blood pressure can lead to serious health problems if left untreated, such as heart attacks and strokes, so it’s important to lower it if you have the condition. According to the NHS, more than a quarter of UK adults have high blood pressure, many of whom won’t actually realise they have it. Blood pressure can be lowered by eating a healthy, balanced low-salt diet, and by exercising to keep the heart and blood vessels healthy. But what type of exercise is best for the heart and blood vessels? According to experts, aerobic exercise is the most beneficial.
“Different kinds of exercise and activity have different effects on your body,” said Blood Pressure UK.
“If you have high blood pressure, you should try to focus on activities that will help your heart and blood vessels. Aerobic activity is the type that helps your heart the most.”
Aerobic activities are defined as “repetitive and rhythmic movements” that use the large muscle groups of the body.
The large muscle groups include those in the legs, shoulders and arms.
Examples of aerobic activities include brisk walking, cycling, swimming, dancing, tennis and jogging.
You can also partake in aerobic exercise classes at your local fitness centre or gym.
In addition, some aspects of gardening can provide good aerobic exercise, such as mowing the lawn or digging.
However, Blood Pressure UK warns against activities that are very intensive for short periods of time, such as sprinting, weight lifting and squash.
This is because these kinds of activities will quickly raise blood pressure and put unwanted strain on the heart and blood vessels.
The blood pressure expert also warns against activities like scuba diving and parachuting, as these can be dangerous for people with high blood pressure.
All types of physical activity will cause blood pressure to rise for a short time, but it should return to normal soon after the activity is stopped.
“Most people with high blood pressure should be able to increase their physical activity levels quite safely,” said Blood Pressure UK.
However, if your blood pressure is relatively high, you may need to lower it with medicines before starting an exercise programme.
If your blood pressure is very high, you should not start any new activity without consulting your doctor first.
According to the NHS, normal blood pressure is considered to be between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg.
High blood pressure is considered to be 140/90mmHg or higher. Malignant hypertension – a condition in which blood pressure is dangerously high – is considered to be 180/120mmHg or higher.