Global health and nutrition data show that high blood pressure (or hypertension) afflicts around 26% of men and women. The risk of hypertension increases with age, poor diet, and inactivity. While it is manageable with drugs, making regular exercise a habit can help you to maintain optimal blood pressure naturally. Exercise also increases the efficacy of blood pressure medication and can improve heart function and boost your energy levels. In this article, we will discuss some of the best exercises for regulating your blood pressure.
To regulate blood pressure naturally, you should engage in low-impact exercises that reduce blood vessel stiffness to allow blood to flow normally. Walking is one of the best exercises due to its ability to deliver results quickly. Since you do not need special equipment or the guidance of a personal trainer, it’s relatively simple for most people to accomplish. Follow these tips for additional results:
- Before you start walking, you should warm up for between five and 10 minutes to loosen your joints and get the blood flowing. Jumping jacks are ideal. You can also stretch
- Next, set your walking routine. The goal should be to develop a low-impact walking routine that boosts cardiovascular function without straining the heart
- Taking a brisk walk for 10 minutes three times a day for five days a week is enough for most people. Moderate walking or jogging for 20 minutes per day for three to four days per week can also work. Be sure to increase the intensity gradually
- Have a five-minute cool-down session after exercising before resuming your day-to-day activities. The process should be gradual rather than sudden if you have hypertension
Calisthenics are a great form of exercise that can help you improve your blood circulation. If you are a beginner, this simple calisthenics workout plan will come in handy.
Hiking not only improves fitness levels, but also has a positive impact on health. In a 2018 study of walking and hypertension, active subjects reported significantly lower Systolic Blood Pressure (SBP) readings after six months follow up. According to the study, staying active can lower high blood pressure by up to 22 points. Abandoning your sedentary lifestyle is one sure way for keeping blood pressure in check. For instance, during the summer, you can organize hiking trips with your friends or colleagues.
Some of us think that strength training only involves lifting weights in the gym, but this is not always the case. Resistance training is a low-impact technique that lowered blood pressure levels and eliminated some cardiovascular risk factors in a 2011 meta-analysis.
In another 2020 study, isometric handgrip training led to a reduction in brachial diastolic pressure by improving local vascular function. Low-impact strength training exercises could be of great benefit to people who have high blood pressure. Since hypertension can be unpredictable, you should exercise with a personal trainer. Choose a routine that you can do safely and stop strength training if you develop any issues.
Swimming will cool you down and help you to relax after a long day at work. However, did you know that swimming is also a suitable form of exercise for hypertensive adults? If you are an adult aged 60 years or older, try swimming for 45 minutes every day for 12 weeks. Research has shown a significant reduction in systolic blood pressure (SBP) by around nine points. However, unlike walking and hiking, which can deliver instantaneous results, swimming requires endurance and a sustained effort to be effective. Doctors recommend that you should have around 75 minutes of vigorous exercise or 150 minutes of moderate exercise weekly for it to be effective.
Gentle yoga is therapeutic and can regulate blood pressure naturally. Here are some effective yoga poses that you can do safely at home:
- Bound angle: This pose stretches the muscles of the lower back, flexes the hip, and improves blood circulation, which benefits people who have hypertension. Since it is a seated pose, you will need a comfortable yoga mat and a flat surface to do it. Sit, bring the feet together, grab your toes, inhale, and press your toes down as you exhale.
- Bridge pose: This pose strengthens the core, relieves aches from the lower back and hip, and regulates blood pressure. Avoid deeper backbends if you have hypertension
- Head-to-knee forward bend: This pose calms the brain, aids digestion, stretches the shoulder, groin, and spine, and soothes high blood pressure. Use deep, even breaths
- Legs-up-the-wall: This inversion pose has a calming effect and is the safest inversion option for managing hypertension. You will need a wall and a mat to do the pose
If you have a desk job that requires you to sit behind a computer for hours, you should find a way to stay active to maintain healthy blood pressure. Sit-stand desks are beneficial if your job can accommodate them. However, desk pedals and treadmills deliver the best results. They fit in most spaces, are fun to use, and enable you to personalize your exercise routines to fit your lifestyle. Cycle a stationary pedal bike for10 minutes every hour to maintain an optimal activity level. If you can afford a desk treadmill, use it for 10 minutes per hour at a slow and steady pace.
Rather than sitting and watching television at home, you can burn extra calories by doing household chores such as cleaning, washing or gardening. These activities will keep you occupied and are beneficial to your health.
Cycling is a suitable cardiovascular workout for regulating blood pressure naturally. If you own a bicycle at home, you should cycle outdoors for at least 30 minutes every day. You cycle for 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the evening, or buy a stationary bicycle, which you can ride for 10 minutes for three times every day.
The nine exercises we have talked about above can help you to manage blood pressure naturally and prevent other health problems.