Will Exercise Affect Blood Pressure?

Regular exercise isn't just good to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. Exercise can help boost your mood, give you energy, help you sleep better, make you feel more confident and much more. Aside from all these positive benefits exercise can have, it is also one of the first recommendation doctors will give to help maintain a healthy blood pressure level. The effect of exercise on blood pressure can help reduce your risk of stroke and heart disease. Read on to learn more.

What Are the Effects of Exercise on Blood Pressure?

Short Term

During exercise, the heart rate increases, which then will increase the contractions and the blood flow. With these increases, you will also have an increase in your blood pressure while the blood vessels will become larger. These enlarged blood vessels help supply the muscles with more blood while exercising, so there is no an increase in pressure on the walls of the blood vessels. Even though your blood pressure will increases during exercise, when compared to the increases in heart rate, this rise is small. Once you have finished exercising, the blood pressure will return to its previous resting rate.

Long Term

Whether you have hypertension or high blood pressure, exercising regularly can help lower blood pressure. Those who have hypertension are often recommended to exercise regularly to reduce the risk of stroke and heart disease. Regular aerobic exercise can lower blood pressure by 5 percent for those with hypertension and up to 2 percent for people who have a normal blood pressure reading. Both aerobic and strength training exercises can significantly reduce blood pressure within 12 weeks of regular exercise.

Research has shown various exercises can greatly decrease blood pressure. Dynamic exercise like running, dynamic resistance like weightlifting, and isometric exertion like hand grip exercises have all been successful at lower blood pressure.

The effects of exercise on blood pressure are positive, but if you have very high blood pressure, you will want to consult your doctor first. Those with relatively high blood pressure may be prescribed blood pressure medication to lower blood pressure before starting any regular exercise. Your blood pressure level will have an effect on how active you should be.

  • Blood pressure that is below 90/60 is considered low and you should speak to a doctor before starting any regular exercise.
  • Blood pressure levels that are between 90/60 to 140/90 is a safe level to start an exercise routine to help maintain these levels.
  • Blood pressure levels between 140/90 to 199/109: you should consult a doctor before starting any regular exercise.
  • Blood pressure levels that are above 200/110: you should refrain from starting any exercise routine and speak to a doctor first.

More Natural Ways to Manage High Blood Pressure

1. Reduce Sodium Consumption

Consuming too much sodium is easy to do even when you cut out adding salt to your foods. Many processed foods and prepared foods already contain high amounts of sodium, making it hard to know how much you consume. Sodium can increase blood pressure and those who already have high blood pressure should take steps to try and cut out excess sodium by cutting back eating processed and prepared foods.

2. Potassium-Rich Foods

Potassium helps reduce blood pressure by ridding the body of excess sodium. Leafy vegetable, melons, bananas, yogurt, beans, nuts, seeds, tuna, and salmon are all good sources of potassium. Eat a healthy and balanced diet that is full of fresh fruits and vegetables that contain potassium and you can lower your blood pressure.

3. Decrease Caffeine Consumption

Caffeine can cause the blood pressure to increase instantly. While the effects may not raise your blood pressure levels for a prolonged period of time, it can put stress on the body with the sudden increase. If you drink more than two cups of coffee a day, you want to consider cutting back on your caffeine consumption to keep your blood pressure at a lower level.

4. Stress Management

Stress is one of the most common factors that can increase blood pressure. Stress can cause blood pressure to rise for a number of reasons from eating unhealthy, drinking excess alcohol, and putting the body in a constant fight or flight mode. Luckily there are a number of ways you can manage your stress from meditating and deep breathing to listening to calming music. The effects of exercise on blood pressure can be beneficial as a form of stress management as well. Learning how to better manage and reduce your stress will have a positive effect on blood pressure and simply make you feel better overall.

5. Dark Chocolate

The flavonoids in dark chocolate and cocoa cause the blood vessels to dilate, which can lower blood pressure. While you do not want to over eat chocolate, having a small serving once a day can help reduce blood pressure. Choose a dark chocolate that has no added sugar and is non-alkalized for the most benefits.

6. Eat More Berries

Berries are a delicious way you can help manage your blood pressure levels. Berries contain polyphenols which are natural compounds that are incredibly heart healthy. People who have added more berries in their diet saw a reduction in their blood pressure, which put them at lower risk of heart disease.

7. Calcium-Rich Foods

It is recommended that adults consume 1,000 mg of calcium a day and those over 50 should be consuming 1,200 mg of calcium a day. Getting the proper amount of calcium each day can help lower your blood pressure. While you can take calcium supplements to increase your calcium intake, eating a diet that includes calcium rich foods can be more beneficial. Collard greens, green leafy vegetables, sardine, dairy products, tofu, and beans are all great sources of calcium.

8. Magnesium

Magnesium is a vital mineral that most people do not consume enough of. Magnesium is used by the body to help relax blood vessels which in turns keeps blood pressure at a lower level. A diet that incorporates plenty of magnesium rich foods can help reduce the risk of high blood pressure. Similar to the effects of exercise on blood pressure, magnesium rich foods like vegetables, legumes, whole grains, dairy, and meat can have positive long term effects on blood pressure.