Want To Lower Your Blood Pressure?

Common sense tells us that exercise is good for us.

Scientific research tells us that “exercise, of appropriate intensity and duration, could help maintain normotension if post-exercise hypotension persists over subsequent everyday activities.

In English:

  • Exercise lowers your blood pressure – hypotension
  • Our lifestyles make us prone to high blood pressure – primary hypertension
  • The B.P. lowering effect of regular exercise balances out the B.P. raising effect of our lifestyles to give us a healthy blood pressure – normotension

stairs Want To Lower Your Blood Pressure?

So, What Now?

In this study, researchers looked at how exercise intensity affected our “at rest” blood pressure.

During the study, the researchers:

  • Monitored the B.P. and heart rate of 6 normotensive males for 24 hours after a workout.
  • The 6 guinea-pigs performed 4 different workouts over the course of the entire study.
  • The workouts differed only in their intensity.
  • Workout #1 was the control workout: They did nothing. No workout
  • Workout #2 consisted of 30 minutes of cycling at 70% of their V˙O2peak
  • Workout #3 consisted of 30 minutes of cycling at 40% of their V˙O2peak
  • Workout #4 consisted of cycling at 40% of their V˙O2peak until they had matched the work output achieved in Workout #2.

V˙O2peak is the highest amount or volume(V) of oxygen(O2) you can consume while exercising at your maximum capacity.

The Results

While the participants slept, their resting blood pressure (B.P.) was monitored

  • Workout # 2 produced the greatest reduction in resting B.P.
  • Workout #1 had little to no effect on the participants’ B.P.
  • Workout #3 had the second lowest effect on lowering B.P.
  • And even though Workout #4 produced the same amount of work as Workout #2, even it did not have as strong an effect on the participants’ blood pressure (90 % CI for difference = − 22.1 to − 0.1).

Conclusion

  • Daytime exercise can elicit a physiologically meaningful lower BP during sleep, and
  • Exercise intensity is the most important factor in this phenomenon.

So there you go folks, increase your exercise intensity and lower your blood pressure.

Doug Robb is a personal trainer, a fitness blogger and author, a competitive athlete, a social media nerd and a student of nutrition and exercise science. Since 2008, Doug has brought his real-world experience online via his health & fitness blog, Health Habits.

11 Comments

  1. trishee1703

    January 25, 2012 at 5:48 am

    I was diagnosed with high blood pressure after having my children – ages now 32, 29 and 26. My doctor said I’ll be on medication for life! 30 years of different cocktails of prescription meds COULDN’T CONTROL or LOWER my BP readings (ave. reads of 174 – up as high as 200-210)- no matter what I did! I love exercising only now I prefer walking. Last April I began using Herbalife products – not that I wanted to but I had to because I was interested in the business opportunity. At the time, I had only heard of Herbalife when I was growing up – not fully understanding what Herbalife was about. Anyway, in order for me to do this business I had to use the Herbalife products to gain a thorough understanding of how these work. After 21/2-3 months on these amazing products my blood pressure read normal for the first time!! No hard work involved – just a daily consumption of world-class cellular nutritional food in the form of a smoothie and supporting supplements! I am no longer on medication and my BP is still within the normal reading range. These products are not a cure-all – but, these are my results since using Herbalife!

  2. Cleta Brookstein

    May 23, 2011 at 11:43 am

    I found your article to be very informative. I am the local Examiner writer for Heart Health and I included some of your information in my latest article. Thanks so much – great blog!

    http://www.examiner.com/heart-health-in-houston/want-to-lower-your-blood-pressure

  3. Herve Leger Skirts

    June 15, 2010 at 5:39 pm

    you are an Archetypal figure in our lives ,a masculine image of love and goodness and truth telling,and keeper of our dreams

  4. Alistrol

    December 15, 2008 at 8:22 pm

    Exercise is the best way too stay healthy.. Along with the right diet and lifestyle.. Like they always; “Prevention is better than cure.”

  5. Pingback: Sunday Roundup - Lose that Weight! | Health, Fitness, Exercise, and Weight Loss (68 pounds in 20 weeks)

  6. rambodoc

    September 19, 2008 at 12:34 am

    A couple of points:
    Obesity causes hypertension. Losing weight may reduce and even totally correct one’s BP.
    There is no such thing as ‘low BP’ or hypotension in normal people. As such, the occurrence on a regular basis of low BP causing giddiness or blackouts is a sign of an underlying problem.
    I say this because a lot of people keep going to doctors regularly because they are worried about their low BP, even though they are otherwise fine.
    These people are blessed: they will probably never become hypertensive.
    After doing a heavy bout of leg press, when I get up, I feel giddy for a few seconds. I am sure this must be because the change in posture must be reducing the blood flow to my brain, but there is no way for me to check my BP at that point of time. Maybe it is better to get up slowly rather than at one go.

  7. charliedw

    September 18, 2008 at 10:12 pm

    I agree with the comments above, it is good to see hard figures and evidence to support what most of know intuitively. But like Mark says, sometimes we need to ease into it gently.

    Exercise also helps with stress too. For all our science and sophistication, our bodies still react like cavemens. When we get stressed and our body releases adrenalin the body still thinks fight or flight (ie fighting or running which would have kept the caveman alive). The body however doesn’t realise that we may be stressed because we are stuck in a traffic jam! This means that these “stress chemicals” are in our blood, but we are not doing any exercise (running from sabre tooth tigers or fighting another tribe). Exercise burns these chemical out of our system which is also very good for us.

  8. Blake

    September 18, 2008 at 9:30 pm

    My mother-in-law has high BP and is on meds for it and thinks that meds are the only/best way to lower BP. She’s very sedentary and no matter how much my wife and I encourage her to get exercise (and offer to walk with her) she just thinks meds are the only way. It’s actually quite sad. Thanks for the info.

  9. Mark Salinas

    September 18, 2008 at 6:05 pm

    An easy to understand breakdown. “increase your exercise intensity and lower your blood pressure.” Makes good sense…although I believe the elderly, anyone recovering from an illness or injury, someone who is significantly overweight and out of shape, or someone who is just beginning to workout might want to start at a lower intensity . Nice post as always! Thanks!

  10. McBloggenstein

    September 18, 2008 at 4:07 pm

    At first I’m thinking “What a suprise! Exercise is good for us!”

    But it’s good for people to see the numbers laid out like this. It makes it more real, rather than just assuming it has benefits.

    Good stuff!

  11. DR

    December 16, 2008 at 9:10 am

    They say it, but do they do it?

    It’s sad, but most of us don’t even think about how our lifestyle impacts our health until something goes wrong.

    Thanks for visiting and commenting