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Exercise recommendations for individuals with Hypertension

According to the American Heart Association, 1 in 3 adults in the United States has high blood pressure, and only about 77% of people with Hypertension are aware of it. 

Endurance exercise can have the effect of lowering blood pressure 10 mmHG in individuals with stage I or II hypertension.  Exercise can also be used as management in individuals with Hypertension.  While some people may need medication to control hypertension, exercise can improve overall health in the body and thereby improve blood pressure.

Weight training has not been shown to improve Hypertension, and it should not be the sole focus for physical activity.  Hypertensive individuals who want to increase strength should do circuit training rather than traditional weight lifting.   If traditional weight lifting is a preference, then the routine must be balanced with good endurance cardio.

Lifestyle changes to consider when you have high blood pressure:

  • Lose weight
  • Limit alcohol consumption
  • Add physical activity to your day
  • reduce sodium intake
  • Get RDA of potassium, calcium, ad magnesium
  • stop smoking
  • Reduce dietary saturated fat

If you are a male over the age of 45, a female over the age of 55, or have any coronary issues, then you must speak to your doctor before beginning any exercise program.  Hypertension sets people up for a higher risk of coronary complications which must be closely monitored.  If you are unsure of your blood pressure, speak to you doctor or go to your local Wal-Mart, Walgreen's, or United to use their free blood pressure station.  The blood pressure stations are usually located next or close to a pharmacy.

A good routine to start with includes large muscle endurance aerobics (running, biking, swimming, cardio machines) on 3-7 days a week for 30-60 minutes each session.  You should work at 50-70% of your maximum heart rate.  Add in some circuit training with high repetitions and low resistance for strength training.

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