In Part One of One Medical Group’s series on natural treatments for high blood pressure, we looked at how can help reduce blood pressure. In this installment, we examine various types of exercise and the role exercise plays in treating hypertension.
Don’t love the idea of high-intensity aerobic exercise? While it’s true aerobic activity wins the blue ribbon for blood pressure reduction, any kind of activity is better than none at all. Here are the best types of exercise for managing hypertension.
1. AEROBIC EXERCISE: BEST FOR LOWERING BLOOD PRESSURE
Aerobic exercise refers to any sustained body movement that gets your blood pumping. Aerobic exercise increases the efficiency of your cardiovascular system, which, in turn, lowers blood pressure–by five points or more. A good rule of thumb: When aerobic activity makes you breathe hard, you’re working effectively.
But you don’t have to start training for a marathon to see results. You can start slowly. Use these suggestions to incorporate aerobic body movement into your daily life.
> Go for a walk. A dose of sunshine and fresh air is good for your mood as well as your heart. Short on time? Even a 10-minute walk can be a great de-stressor–work it into your lunch hour.
> Dance! Sure, you can sign up for salsa lessons, but you also can also get moving in the privacy of your own home.
> Play a team sport. Basketball, volleyball, and softball leagues offer camaraderie and competition. Tennis and racquetball require you to make an appointment for matches, holding you accountable for showing up.
> Play with your kids. Whether in your own backyard or at a local park, get moving outside. Play tag, run around and generally find your inner child. It will be good for all of you.
> Pick up any activity you used to love. Remember when you biked all over town as a kid? Or when you went swimming at the community pool every summer? How about the time you hiked around Europe? Rediscover the activities you loved, and take them up again. You’ll be more likely to stick with activities that you know and love.
How Often: Aim for at least 30 minutes of aerobic activity daily, most days of the week. If you’re just starting out, work toward that goal on your own pace.
Read on for more exercises to manage high blood pressure >
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