Blood pressure is an indicator of how much force the heart needs to beat in order to get blood pumping through the body. The reading of your blood pressure is given at two numbers, either systolic or diastolic.
Stysolic blood pressure is the highest pressure when your heart beats and pushes blood round your body. Diastolic pressure is the lowest pressure when your heart relaxes between beats.
A person whose reading is higher than 140/90 is categorised as having high blood pressure. Uncontrolled high blood pressure could lead to stroke, blood clots and possibly dementia.
High blood pressure affects more than one in four adults in England and diets high in salt and processed foods are increasing the statistics.
Many people with high blood pressure worry that exercise might make symptoms worse. But in fact, physical activity is one of the best remedies to combating symptoms of high blood pressure.
The NHS said: “Researchers carried out a review of 391 studies and trials which had looked into the effects of either blood pressure medicines or exercise programmes on blood pressure.
“When they compared the effects of the two different interventions, they found exercise produced similar results to medicines for people with high blood pressure.
“The research proved that exercise is a powerful tool to reduce and to control blood pressure.
“The results should encourage everyone to do enough physical activity to keep blood pressure at healthy levels.”
Different types of exercise have different effects on the body. For people with high blood pressure – it’s all about the heart.
There are many ways to get your heart rate up and making small changes to your everyday life will ensure this.
Where possible, choose to walk rather than take public transport, climbs stairs instead of using lifts and escalators, and do chores at home, as these could be excellent ways to get the blood pumping.
Exercises recommended for high blood pressure are:
Running or joggingSwimmingCyclingDancingWalkingAerobics
It is recommended to consult your GP before embarking on any major physical regime.
If you feel any discomfort whilst exercising such as pains in your chest or dizzy feelings, you should stop immediately. Your doctor might recommend a stress test before hand.
For people worrying if exercise is safe on their body, you could start with light to moderate exercises and gradually work up the intensity.
Even if exercise does not change your blood pressure, it strengthens your heart which in turn reduces the damaging effects such as strokes or dementia.
Ultimately exercise lowers your cholesterol, keeps your weight in check and produces endorphins to make you feel happy and healthy.