Discover why regular exercise is important to lowering high blood pressure, and how this lifestyle change works in promoting overall health.
It’s no secret that regular exercise is a surefire way to help prevent and reduce high blood pressure readings. One reason is that physical activity helps the body maintain a healthy blood pressure by lowering the levels of stress hormones in the blood (stress tends to constrict arteries and drive up blood pressure). Exercise also dilates, or relaxes, your blood vessels, further promoting increased circulation.
Additionally, and perhaps most importantly, exercise helps to lower high blood pressure by helping you maintain a healthy weight. The more weight you carry, the harder your heart has to work—because it has to push your blood through fat that lines and narrows your blood vessels. It’s like trying to battle your way through a subway station at rush hour.
So the one thing you can do right now to reduce your blood pressure is to begin exercising. And it doesn’t have to be complicated. Find something you love to do and can stick with. That could be walking or just dancing.
Get more of Dr. Sinatra's advice on Healthy Blood Pressure
The Best Exercises for Lowering High Blood Pressure
The good news it that you don’t have to exercise intensely for hours in order to reap the blood pressure–lowering benefits of exercise. In fact, walking and dancing are my two favorite forms of heart-healthy exercise, and you only need about 30 minutes per day of either activity to help lower high blood pressure. In addition, adopting a simple weight-training program can significantly lower your high blood pressure readings.
Of course, movement of any kind helps to lower high blood pressure, so if you can’t take a walk every day, or you don’t like dancing or weight lifting, try any of these activities:
- Ride a stationary bike.
- Do exercises that will help maintain muscle tone, flexibility, and balance, such as yoga, T’ai Chi, or Qigong.
- Lift books over your head.
- Take up painting with a brush.
The main thing to remember is that no matter what type of exercise you decide to do, once you create an exercise routine that is suitable for you, be sure you stick to it. That’s because it’s not what exercises you do, but how often you do them that will keep your body—and blood pressure—healthy. And learn about which antioxidant supplements you should take if you exercise a lot.
More Dr. Sinatra Advice on Lowering High Blood Pressure Naturally
What’s the best diet for high blood pressure? Learn how the Pan-Asian Mediterranean (PAM) approach to eating can help lower your blood pressure.
Which nutritional supplements will help lower your blood pressure? Find out about the core supplements I recommend for everyone with cardiovascular concerns, plus some additional ones specifically for those with high blood pressure.
How can you address stress to lower your blood pressure? Read about techniques to help you manage your emotions and daily stressors in an effort to reduce your blood pressure reading.