Start Doing These Easy Exercises to Lower Your Blood Pressure Immediately

High blood pressure is a major risk factor for the nation’s deadliest disease. The scariest and most dangerous part about this health condition is that you could have it for years without knowing it. Many people don’t know they have high blood pressure until after they’ve had a heart attack.

Exercise may be one of the best ways to lower your blood pressure and keep it under control. Here’s why it’s so good for you, which exercises are best, and the types of workouts you should consider staying away from.

How exercise lowers blood pressure

Stretching exercises

Stretching exercises | iStock.com/Wavebreakmedia

While there are many ways to lower blood pressure without medication, exercise is possibly one of the most effective. People who engage in regular physical activity generally have an easier time controlling their high blood pressure. There’s a reason for that.

Regular exercise strengthens your heart. Like any other muscle, the more you force it to do work, the stronger it will get over time.

A stronger heart doesn’t have to work as hard to pump more blood throughout your body. This decreases the pressure at which your blood moves from place to place, improving your overall health.

The key to keeping your blood pressure in a healthy range, however, is to continue exercising even when you notice positive changes in your blood pressure readings. If you stop exercising, you lose the progress you’ve made in building a strong heart.

Best exercises to lower blood pressure

If you want to use exercise to lower your blood pressure, don’t worry about a gym membership or structured workout program unless you know it’s something you’re going to stick with. Fitness doesn’t necessarily involve the most expensive equipment or the most complex workout sets.

Here are a few examples of exercises you can start with — without much effort on your part.

  • Walking. With high blood pressure, small steps can lead to big results. Something as simple as parking farther away from a building entrance can make a huge difference.
  • Swimming. Doing a series of laps in your local pool works a variety of muscle groups but doesn’t put as much stress on your knees and joints.
  • Recreational sports. Casual games of tennis, basketball, or softball keep you active on a regular basis without prompting you to over-exercise.
  • Errands and household chores. Grocery shopping, vacuuming, and other forms of housework burn more calories than you might think. Even activities like these put your heart to work.

Jogging, biking, and stretching can also benefit your overall health. Though not all exercises are the best for everyone, if you try a few different types, you’re likely to find one you can continue doing over the long-term.

Exercises to avoid with high blood pressure

Woman running outside

Woman running outside | Lzf/iStock/Getty Images

Technically, there isn’t one specific exercise that can be dangerous for people with high blood pressure. What you need to watch out for is how intensely you exercise, how often, and how each workout makes you feel.

Don’t start out with exercises such as HIIT workouts, which are performed at a high intensity and intended for the more advanced. As with starting anything new, begin slowly and ease into more intense, more frequent workouts if you so desire.

Stop exercising immediately if you experience chest pain, can’t catch your breath, or you become dizzy or lightheaded.

You should always check with your doctor to make sure exercise is safe for you before you start a new workout regimen. Though physical fitness is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle, safety should always come first.

Certain health conditions, such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure, often damage the heart and its systems slowly over time. You don’t want to do more harm by pushing yourself too far.

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