High Blood Pressure (hypertension) Controllable Risk Factors: Inactivity
This eight-part series continues with the controllable risk factor of high blood pressure: inactivity.
An inactive or sedentary lifestyle is a controllable risk factor for high blood pressure, as well as other diseases like blood vessel disease, coronary heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol, and obesity. Exercise also battles plaque buildup. Simple, regular physical activity is linked to disease prevention. The more active a person is, the greater the benefits he will live with. Sedentary lifestyles lead to high blood pressure and active lifestyles lead to healthy blood pressure.
How much physical activity is recommended?
Exercise alone is linked to lower blood pressure readings. In just 10 weeks, exercise can lower your high blood pressure (1). Physical activity is proven to lower systolic blood pressure by 4-9mmHG on average (1). Exercise or regular physical activity is recommended for everyone, not just those with high blood pressure. When someone realizes they need to become more physically active, they may be discouraged thinking they need to exercise hours and hours every day. The fact is something is better than nothing when it comes to exercise. If you don't like to exercise, think of sports or household chores to make health more appealing. If this is the first time you're going to attempt a life of regular physical activity, begin small. Start with parking a little further away from work or the store. Walk your dog. If you don't have a dog, walk your neighbor's dog. Vacuum your living room carpet in record time.
The two types of exercises that can help lower high blood pressure
Aerobic exercises involve the large muscle groups. These motions are rhythmic and repeated. Bicycling, brisk walking, jogging, jumping rope, and swimming are great examples of aerobic-type exercises. Isometric exercises involve held contractions of a muscle group. The best example of isometric exercise is weightlifting.
If you exercise, will you be guaranteed to never develop high blood pressure?
No one can guarantee exercise will prevent high blood pressure; however, those who exercise regularly, like athletes, are routinely at lower risk for high blood pressure than those who do not exercise.
The science behind it
Physical activity not only controls high blood pressure, it actually lowers it because it stimulates nitric oxide in the body. The endothelial cells, located on inside layer of the blood vessels, produce nitric oxide. The function of nitric oxide is to maintain open blood vessels. When our bodies do not exercise, plaque will build up and the production of nitric oxide will reduce. It's exercise that increases the production of nitric oxide and accelerates the heart to pump more blood. As the blood flows through the blood vessels, endothelial cells then release nitric oxide.
What else can you do to lower high blood pressure?
There are lifestyle modifications that include the elimination of smoking, drinking, and bad eating habits.
Are there other benefits of physical activity?
Yes. You can enjoy a healthier confidence and a smaller size. You can enjoy stepping on the scale again. You can enjoy a healthier mindset. You can enjoy a sense of accomplishment. You can enjoy your life . . . a little longer. (1) http://www.bpassoc.org.uk/information/lifestyle/exercise.htm