High blood pressure is a problem that many of us will sadly experience at some point in life. It becomes more and more likely the older that we get, and there is very little that we can do about it. One thing that we can do to help though is exercise. Not only is exercise more beneficial in later life, but it's also both preventative and symptom reducing of high blood pressure, so it's a good call to start an exercise regime that's a good fit for you when you can!

What it is

High blood pressure is essentially what happens when your heart is working harder than it should be to pump blood around your body. Your blood travels through arteries and veins, and the whole system works by your heart contracting and pushing the blood out, with enough pressure to circulate your whole body. When your heart is beating too hard, or your arteries or veins are blocking, this pressure goes up. That's the general idea anyway.

How it Happens

Having high blood pressure can occur for a vast number of reasons. One of the biggest is, sadly, that it is just a part of getting older. As we age, typically, our health deteriorates. That means our hearts have to work harder to keep up, which increases blood pressure. Different things can contribute to it too though, like high levels of fat and cholesterol, even sodium, so diet plays a big part. Exercise does too, as your cardiovascular health is a big part of what keeps things running smoothly with your heart and blood systems.

Why it’s bad

High blood pressure or hypertension can be a severe issue if it gets too bad. It can have a dramatic impact on your risk of a cardiac episode like a heart attack or a stroke, and make daily life, in general, a lot harder than it needs to be. The worse it is, the easier it is to worsen too. Taking action at an early stage is the best thing that you can do, and drugs to treat it are essential where needed.

How exercising helps

Couple walking their dog outdoors

So, where does exercising come into play? Exercise helps to lower your blood pressure without the use of drugs, or so studies suggest. (DO NOT STOP TAKING YOUR MEDICATION AND START EXERCISING) When you exercise, you are strengthening the heart muscle tissue to be able to work more efficiently. That's the case with all exercise. Your heart is stronger from doing it and can pump blood more powerfully. As a result, there's less need for a higher pressure to get the blood circulated, and as such, the pressure is reduced.

Not a replacement for drugs

There is a catch though. If your blood pressure is already high, starting exercise may not be the wisest move (here's a more specific guide). You need to talk to your GP or a health professional before you start doing it. If your blood pressure is already high, then when you exercise, it will be even higher. That's what happens during any exercise. It comes back down when you're done, but during you could have a serious issue. Start small so that you are taking all of the precautions that you need and keeping yourself safe. Don't substitute any prescribed drugs out for exercise without the okay from your doctor.

Healthy in general

That's basically everything that you need to know. Exercise has a dramatic link to blood pressure, and it's always a great thing to start doing. Don't run before you can walk, and take things easy if you're just starting. It is ALWAYS a good idea to talk to your doctor before you make any dramatic changes to your lifestyle. See what they have to say to make sure you're being as healthy as you can be without putting yourself at risk.

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Before beginning any exercise or nutrition program, consult your physician, doctor or other professional. This is especially important for individuals over the age of 35 or persons with pre-existing health problems. Exercise.co.uk assumes no responsibility for personal injury or property damage sustained using our advice.

If you experience dizziness, nausea, chest pain, or any other abnormal symptoms, stop the workout at once and consult a physician or doctor immediately.