Easy-to-follow Exercise Tips for Hypertension

Easy-to-follow Exercise Tips for Hypertension

Like nearly half of adults in the United States, you’ve been diagnosed with hypertension, and we’ve told you that diet and exercise are the keys to lowering your blood pressure numbers into healthier ranges. While true, we recognize that the mandate is awfully broad and you may not know where to begin.

To help you get started, Dr. Madaiah Revana and the team here at Humble Cardiology Associates decided we’d pull together a few tips to help you exercise effectively.

Raising your heart rate is key

When you have high blood pressure, it means the force of blood on the walls of your blood vessels is too high, which leaves you more vulnerable to heart attack and stroke.

While it may seem counterintuitive to get your heart pumping harder and faster, that’s exactly what you need to do to lower your blood pressure numbers. This type of exercise strengthens your heart, encourages better circulation, reduces stress, and helps you lose weight.

Determining your target heart rate

Since raising your heart rate is the goal, you first need to determine what your target heart rate is. If you don’t have a heart monitor, there’s an easy way to figure out your peak heart rate: simply subtract your age from 220.

So, if you’re 55 years old, your peak rate is 165, which means you should stay under that. We suggest that you aim for achieving a heart rate that falls between 50% and 85% of your peak heart rate. In our example of a 55-year-old, a 50% heart rate would be 82-83 beats per minute and an 85% target heart rate would be 140, so the target range is 82-140.

To check your heart rate, simply place your fingers on the underside of your wrist and measure your pulse—how many beats in a minute.

Figuring out which exercises work best

No matter where you fall on the fitness scale, your goal is to find an activity that raises your heart rate as we describe above, and most any activity can accomplish this. For example, if you lead a fairly sedentary lifestyle, a walk around the neighborhood might be all you need to get to your target heart rate.

If you’re more active, you may need to walk longer, walk faster, and include some hills to get your heart rate up.

If walking or running aren’t feasible due to musculoskeletal issues (severe arthritis, for example), there are plenty of activities that don’t place so much stress on your joints, such as swimming or using a stationary bike or rowing machine.

As well, performing everyday chores like gardening or vacuuming can also raise your heart rate.

As for how long you should raise your heart rate, we recommend that you get at least 150 minutes of moderate-to-intense aerobic exercise each week. Breaking it down, a 20- to 30-minute run or walk each day meets this goal.

Ultimately, it’s up to you to choose an activity that you enjoy and one that will keep you coming back. Our goal is to make sure that these efforts lower your blood pressure, which is why understanding your target heart rate is so important.

If you have more questions about how to lower your blood pressure through exercise, please contact one of our offices in Houston or Humble, Texas.

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