Besides reducing consumption of salt, alcohol, foods high in trans-fats and sugars, as well as avoiding smoking, bringing physical activity into our lives is one of the strongest steps towards preventing non-communicable diseases, including high blood pressure (HBP) and hypertension, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Lack of physical activity is recognised as a leading independent risk factor for HBP (and other non-communicable diseases) causing up to 10% of deaths among European citizens, and nearly 1/3 of deaths in the United States are a result of heart disease and stroke.
How much activity do you need to lower and normalise your blood pressure?
Being moderately active on a regular basis is a cost-effective way to improve and maintain your health in general.
To have an effect on your blood pressure and to get the maximum benefit, 30 minutes of moderate physical activity a day (at least 5 times a week) is the recommended minimum.
Moderate physical activity can be anything that makes you slightly out of breath and warms up your body – for example, brisk walking, cycling, swimming, yoga, Pilates, etc. You may want to gradually build up to this, especially if you have been inactive for a while or have other medical conditions. You can split the 30 minutes into smaller blocks and be active two times for 15 minutes or three times for 10 minutes during the day. It is important to go a little out of your comfort zone, but not too much.
Are there any activities and sports you should avoid?
You should think carefully about how a particular activity feels – how much it heats up your body, how heavy your breathing is, and how tired your muscles are. If you cannot keep a conversation while exercising, then the effort is too much for you.
- Avoid lifting heavy weights without supervision from a qualified exercise trainer or a medical professional.
- Vigorous exercise like squash, boxing, football drills, etc. are also to be avoided in case of HBP or hypertension.
- Disciplines such as scuba diving, motor racing or parachuting have some restrictions and you will need to pass tests conducted by a medical specialist. This applies to all activities involving changes in atmospheric pressure or speed.
Can exercise have a positive impact on blood pressure?
Sport and physical activity can become an effective antihypertensive therapy only if they are well-planned, structured and if they become a lifestyle. Under these conditions, physical activity can not only normalise blood pressure, but might also work as a preventative tool for other diseases, eliminating risk factors and complications.
Active people are most likely to experience increased productivity and improved quality of life and there is not much required for that – you just have to join the MOVEment!
Learn more about how exercise can be a cost-free and accessible medicine at: https://movementpills.nowwemove.com/