High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a condition where your blood pumps through your blood vessels with too much force. While your blood needs a level of this pressure to efficiently move through your body, when it becomes too intense, it can do significant damage on your veins and arteries. “In the US, 47% of the population is diagnosed with hypertension (meaning likely more have it but are yet diagnosed),” Says Dr. Rand McClain, Chief Medical Officer of LCR Health. While uncontrollable things like genetics can increase your risk, your lifestyle can play a role—things like lack of exercise, poor nutrition, excess alcohol consumption, and tobacco use can significantly increase your risk.
When you have high blood pressure, it’s important that you lead a lifestyle that keeps your symptoms at bay. Exercise is one thing that you should be particularly careful about. Although research has shown that regular exercise can reduce high blood pressure, it is important to exercise thoughtfully.
The main thing you have to keep in mind is the intensity of the exercises you do. “The risks of exercising when it pertains to high blood pressure is a matter of exercise intensity. Short bursts of high intensity exercise such as sprinting and heavy resistance training can dramatically raise blood pressure temporarily, even in an otherwise non hypertensive individual.” Says Sean Ruff, a fitness coach and NASM Performance Enhancement Specialist. “For the hypertensive exerciser, it is imperative to be vigilant about monitoring your exercise intensity. Exercise intensity can be carefully manipulated by adjusting the load, exercise tempo, body positioning, and the rest periods. Moderate exercise intensities are warranted for those who are hyertensive.”