Exercise to Help Reduce Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)

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High blood pressure (Hypertension) is thought to effect nearly 1 in 3 adults in the UK. Aerobic exercise is known to reduce hypertension and help lower mortality rates.

Normal blood pressure in considered to be 120mm Hg / 80mm Hg. Stage 1 hypertension is elevated blood pressure between 140 – 159mm Hg for systolic readings or 90-99mm Hg for disastolic readings. Higher readings indicate stage 2 hypertension.

When individuals sugger from hypertension the following lifestyle modifications are recommended:

  • Lose weight / fat with a calorie controlled diet, such as using weight loss and slimming shakes
  • Limit alcohol consumption
  • Undertake aerobic exercise for at least 30 mins per day on most days of the weak
  • Reduce sodium (salt) intake
  • Eat a varied diet including fruits, vegetables and low fat
  • Avoid tobacco

Fitness training for hypertensive individuals should include aerobic exercise using large muscle groups such as cycling, rowing, walking, running, swimming etc. Ideally individuals should aim to exercise on most days of the week for at least 30 mins per day. The intensity should be 11-13 on the rating of perceived extertion (RPE) chart – this should be assessed every 60 seconds.

Rating of Perceived Exertion Chart

Rating of Perceived Exertion Chart

Individuals who are deconditioned or lead sedentary lifestyles should commence exercising 3-days per week for 15 mins per session. The duration should be increased at a rate of 5 mins per week until 30 min goal has been achieved 5-7 days per week.

Weight training can be undertaken for individuals who are suffering stage 1 hypertension. training can include 1 set of 10-15 repetitions for 8 different exercises targeting the large muscle groups. Intensity is also set at a RPE rate of 11-13.

Those with stage 2 or above hypertension are not advised to undertake weight training.

Individuals should ensure that they spend 2/3 mins before and after each session warming up and cooling down.

Flexibility exercises should also be undertaken targeting the major muscle groups at a rate of 15-30 secs per stretch. When conducting flexibility exercises you should aim for an intensity of 9-11 on the RPE scale.

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About the Author

David Vidgen has nearly 18 years experience in the Fitness Industry. Having completed internationally representing Great Britain and England in the Decathlon (track and field). I am an expert in fitness training, weight loss and physical conditioning.

I am a qualified ACSM Health and Fitness Instructor (HFI).

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