Exercise is a great way of managing high blood pressure (hypertension). If you’re physically active, you’re likely to have a stronger heart that pumps blood with less effort, decreasing the force on your arteries. In one study, sedentary older adults who started exercising saw their systolic blood pressure drop by an average of 3.9%.
However, if you have very high blood pressure, you may feel apprehensive about upping your activity levels. It’s important to make sure that the activities you choose are right for your current level of fitness.
In our recent Patient survey of 281 healthcare professionals, doctors typically favoured low-impact, moderate exercises for people with hypertension. The leading activity was yoga/Pilates (recommended by 66% of doctors), followed by golf (61%), and cycling (59%). The least recommended exercises were squash (25%), skateboarding/rollerblading (23%) and rugby (21%).
“When it comes to activities that are good for your blood pressure, these include cycling, swimming, tennis and jogging,” says Katharine Jenner, CEO of Blood Pressure UK. “In comparison, things such as weightlifting, squash, scuba diving and sprinting are not good for your blood pressure. It’s good to see some of these activities listed in the Patient survey.”
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