Exercise and Hypertension

Posted by Blog Sunday, February 20, 2011

High blood pressure is a major heart attack risk factor. It’s also an important disease in its own right, causing many cases of stroke and kidney failure and contributing to mental deterioration and visual impairment in many patients. About forty-seven thousand of us will die from high blood pressure this year.

That’s the bad news. The good news is that regular exercise can help prevent and treat high blood pressure. Exercise opens blood vessels, improves the arteries’ ability to relax, lowers levels of stress hormones (such as adrenaline), and produces changes in hormones that govern the body’s sodium (salt) metabolism. And there’s more.

Classification of Blood Pressure for People
Eighteen Years or Olde

ClassificationSystolic BPDiastolic BP
NormalBelow 120Below 80
Stage 1 hypertension140–15990–99
Stage 2 hypertension160+100+
If your systolic and diastolic pressures place you in different categories, use the number that puts
you in the higher classification; for example, if your reading is 114/84, you have prehypertension.

The pressure-lowering effects of exercise are sustained for many hours after exercise, and people who maintain regular exercise schedules will continue to enjoy this benefit for many years. In addition, moderate exercise turns out to be at least as good as intense exertion. In some studies, in fact, less is actually more; for example, a nine-month trial of exercise in patients who had hypertension found that moderate exercise lowered average diastolic pressures by a very impressive 20 mm Hg (millimeters of mercury, the standard unit of blood pressure measurements), while intense exercise produced a drop of only 8 mm Hg. Hypertension is one of the many things that make No Sweat exercise right for you. About sixty-five million Americans, nearly one of every three adults, have hypertension, and about fifty-nine million others have prehypertension.

More About Exercise:

Exercise, your body,and your Health

Exercise and Your Body


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