Hypertension is the silent killer that affects up to one in three of us, and one of the major factors for a rise in the condition is that levels of inactivity have increased dramatically over recent years.
Evidence clearly points to the positive effects of exercise, which combined with sensible diet choices act both as a preventative and way of controlling high blood pressure.
Exercise recommendations for hypertensive patients suggest 20 to 60 minutes of low-to-moderate intensity cardiovascular exercise three to five times a week. According to research, studies confirm that low-to-moderate training is just as efficient in lowering blood pressure as high intensity training.Achieving moderate intensity exercise for 30 minutes or so is not hard to do, and is appropriate for most sections of the population. This level of exercise will prove not too hard for those new to exercise, and reduces the risk of any musculoskeletal problems in those who had previously been sedentary for a long time.
Recent study says interval training best way to lower BP
A recent study by a team in Norway indicates that interval aerobic training is the best type of exercise to reduce blood pressure. Internal training involves doing short bursts of intense exercise with periods of less intense movements. This sequence is carried back and forth for twenty or thirty minutes. This is in contrast with general aerobic activity which involves exercising at a moderate pace for a period of time.
The Norwegian study compared the effect of interval aerobic training at 90 to 95% of maximal heart rate to moderate intensity aerobic exercise at 70% maximal heart rate. After three months they discovered that those performing interval training showed a bigger reduction in blood pressure than those that had performed just moderate aerobic exercise continually. The interval trainers also showed a decline in resting heart rate – a good sign that cardiovascular fitness has increased.
Interval training has also been shown to help reduce insulin sensitivity, stiff arteries and cardiorespiratory fitness in people with hypertension.
Advice for the gym
In order to lower blood pressure, you could consider doing an interval training session several times a week. It’s important to keep an accurate record of blood pressure and heart rate over a period of four weeks to see if blood pressure has improved. This could involve 10 to 30 seconds high intensity running on the treadmill at 90 to 90% heart maximal capacity, followed by medium or low intensity jogging. Spinning classes also often use interval training in the workouts, and the rowing machine provides you with another type of equipment which can aid your interval training.
Before commencing on any type of exercise program it’s important to clear it with your doctor first, especially if your blood pressure is recorded as being on the very high side.
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