High blood pressure symptoms: How much exercise should you do to lower your reading?

Posted on Jun 1 2018 - 12:06am by admin

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is common and affects more than one in four adults in the UK.

But a significant majority of people with high blood pressure don’t have any symptoms, states Bupa.

In rare circumstances when people do experience symptoms, they may have a headache, shortness of breath, dizziness, chest pain, heart palpitations and nose bleeds.

Losing excess weight, eating less salt, sugar and saturated fat are among the recommended forms of treatment the health organisation recommends.

But according to Dr Sarah Brewer, regular exercise is actually one of the most effective natural remedies.

Writing on Mylowerbloodpressure.com she said exercise is as important as diet for your health and well-being if your blood pressure is raised.

Dr Brewer explained: “As far back as the 1960s, the Honolulu Heart Study showed that active men were less likely to develop high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, raised cholesterol levels or experience a heart attack or stroke than men who led a sedentary life.

“Twenty years later, the Harvard alumni study showed that men who took part in vigorous sports were 35 per cent less likely to develop high blood pressure over a 10 year period than those who were physically inactive.

“A year later, both men and women in the Aerobics Center Longitudinal Study were found to have a 52 per cent higher risk of developing hypertension than those who were physically active.”

But how much exercise do you need to do to reduce blood pressure?

A study involving sedentary, obese, hypertensive males, published in the American Journal of Hypertension, showed that a single session of aerobic exercise, lasting 45 minutes, of moderate intensity, significantly reduced average systolic blood pressure for the first 16 hours after exercise, compared to a day the men did not exercise.

Overall, their average systolic and diastolic blood pressures remained significantly lower for 24 hours after exercise.

After citing the study, Dr Brewer added: “It’s wise to exercise regularly, every day, so the benefits of a single bout of exercise persist. As soon as you stop exercising, the beneficial effects on blood pressure, cholesterol levels and glucose tolerance are rapidly lost.

“Physical activity doesn’t need to be vigorous. Brisk walking for 30 to 60 minutes a day, most days of the week, produces significant benefits for people with hypertension.”

Gardening and dancing are just as effective as swimming or cycling for the heart.

Any activity that leaves you feeling warm and slightly out of breath is doing you good, according to Dr Brewer.

All adults over 40 are advised to have theirs checked at least every five years, and this can be done at your GP surgery, at some pharmacies, as part of your NHS Health Check in some workplaces.

You can also check your blood pressure yourself with a blood pressure monitor at home.

But what is considered a normal reading?

NHS Choices advises that blood pressure is recorded with two numbers. The systolic pressure (the higher number) is the force at which your heart pumps blood around your body.

The diastolic pressure (the lower number) is the resistance to the blood flow in the blood vessels. Both measured in millimetres of mercury (mmHg).

Ideal blood pressure is considered to be between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg.

Hypertension is considered to be 150/90mmHg or higher, and low blood pressure is considered to be 90/60mmHg or lower.

Eating these five portions of fruit and veg a day can also help reduce high blood pressure symptoms. 

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