High blood pressure is linked to a number of things, including being inactive and being overweight. Exercising more can help to lower blood pressure as it makes the heart stronger, allowing it to pump more blood around the body with less effort. This places less force on the blood vessels, in turn lowering your blood pressure. Being more active can also help you to lose excess weight, which is also important for reducing blood pressure.
But how much exercise do you need to do each week to lower your blood pressure?
According to the NHS, adults should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week.
Moderate-intensity aerobic activity covers exercises that use the large muscle groups of the body, such as those in the legs, shoulders and arms.
It includes activities like brisk walking, cycling, jogging, swimming, dancing and even gardening.
It’s important, however, not to do activities that are very intensive for short periods of time, such as sprinting or weightlifting, if you have high blood pressure.
This is because they quickly raise blood pressure even further, placing unwanted strain on the heart and blood vessels.
Doing moderate-intensity aerobic exercise will also cause high blood pressure for a short time, but it should return to normal when the activity stops.
Most people with high blood pressure should be able to increase their physical activity safely, advises Blood Pressure UK.
But if your blood pressure is relatively high, your doctor may prefer to lower it with medication before starting new exercise.
Speak to your GP if you have high blood pressure and want to start a new exercise regime.
“Being active and taking regular exercise lowers blood pressure by keeping your heart and blood vessels in good condition,” said the NHS.
“Regular exercise can also help you lose weight, which will also help lower your blood pressure.”
According to the health body, being overweight forces the heart to work harder to pump blood around the body.
This is why being overweight increases the risk of developing high blood pressure.
“If you do need to shed some weight, it’s worth remembering that just losing a few pounds will make a big difference to your blood pressure and overall health,” advised the NHS.
It’s also vital to improve your diet if you have high blood pressure, by cutting down on foods high in salt and saturated fat.
High blood pressure: Four ways to lower blood pressure
High blood pressure puts extra stress on blood vessels and vital organs. It increases the risk of some life-threatening heart conditions, including heart attacks and strokes.
Hypertension can often be prevented, and blood pressure reduced, by making some diet or lifestyle changes.
Cutting back on the amount of salt in your diet is a great way to lower blood pressure.
Salt raises blood pressure, and the more you eat, the higher your blood pressure is likely to be.
Aim to eat less than 6g of salt a day – the equivalent to about a teaspoonful.
Blood pressure could be raised if you regularly drink too much alcohol.
Those most likely to have hypertension are people that regularly exceed the week recommended limits.
All adults are advised to drink less than 14 units of alcohol in a single week.
If you’re overweight, the heart has to work harder to pump blood around the body, which raises blood pressure.
Losing just a few pounds could make a big difference to your blood pressure and overall health.
Staying active is one of the best ways to lower your blood pressure.
It helps you to lose weight, while also keeping the heart and blood vessels in good condition.
All adults should aim to do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity every week.