Exercise is a great way to help normalise your blood pressure levels.
Here are five of the best exercises:
1. Isometric exercise
This is as close as you can get to cheating your way to better blood pressure levels. Isometric exercise, such as holding planks or squats, has been discovered to be a very effective tool in reducing blood pressure. And why is it cheating? It’s so easy you can do it in front of your favourite TV show. One type of isometric exercise can be performed by gripping a hand exerciser or anything that gives enough ‘push back’ resistance to get results, such as a tennis ball.
It is possible to see positive results from isometric exercises in as little as five weeks. When squeezing, you should aim to do so for two minutes at a time. Do this four times with each hand with a one to four minute break between squeezes. Isometric exercises should only form a part of a wider approach to your fitness, combine with some of the tips below to have a real impact on your blood pressure levels.
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2. Continuous moderate exercise
30-60 minutes of walking, swimming, jogging, cycling or rowing per day is great for reducing blood pressure. Don’t feel the need to jump into the deep end with these exercises – you should build up gradually. Aim to end up exercising three to five times per week at an intensity scale of five or six. You should gauge the intensity of your workout using our rating of perceived exertion scale.
3. Resistance (band) exercise
Strengthening exercises can be added to your workout to further help with blood pressure. These can be less frequent than cardio exercise, instead carried out two or three times a week. However, with high blood pressure you should avoid using heavy weights or exercises that require you to change position too much (lying to standing for instance). Resistance bands are a great tool for these exercises that won’t put you under any undue pressure.
4. Group exercise
If all the above sounds like a lot to fit in, think about signing up to a group exercise class. Chances are you’ll be doing a lot of points 2 and 3 without even realising it.
Research has shown that the combination of postures, breath control and meditation in yoga can contribute to a lowering of blood pressure. Try doing yoga in addition to the above exercises for the best chance at reducing blood pressure levels. If you’re new to yoga, we have a range of exercise mats so you can get started.
It can help to keep track of your blood pressure
Once you’ve found the exercise you like best and you’ve started to do it often, why not check the difference it’s making with a blood pressure monitor? You’ll be able to test your blood pressure quickly and easily from the comfort of your home, as well as get motivated to take control of your health. If you’re not sure how to read the monitor, take a look at blood pressure numbers explained.