How to reduce hypertension through sport?
Regular exercise helps to improve the functioning of the autonomic nervous system, which is responsible for controlling heart rate and blood pressure. In addition, physical activity leads to better overall health, which can help offset some of the effects of high blood pressure
What is high blood pressure and what are the risks associated with it?
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a condition in which the force of blood against the walls of the arteries is too high. This can lead to a variety of health problems, including heart disease, stroke and kidney failure.
Many factors can contribute to high blood pressure, such as genetics, diet, stress and other medical conditions. However, one of the most important things you can do to reduce your risk of high blood pressure is to stay active and exercise regularly.
Exercise has many benefits for general health and can also help lower blood pressure by improving circulation and promoting relaxation. If you have high blood pressure or are at risk of developing it, talk to your doctor about the best ways to lower your blood pressure through physical activity.
The benefits of regular sports activity for patients with hypertension
Increased blood pressure is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease. According to the World Health Organisation, high blood pressure is responsible for almost 13% of deaths worldwide.
Regular exercise has many benefits for people with high blood pressure, including improved circulation, lower blood pressure and greater relaxation. Exercise can also help you lose weight, which can further reduce your blood pressure.
Sport is therefore recommended for the prevention, treatment and control of high blood pressure. It improves various cardiovascular functions that result in lower blood pressure.
HIIT and hypertension
High intensity interval training (HIIT) has become very popular in recent years. A study showed that this type of training with long intervals (4 x 4 minutes at 90% of HRMAX) can significantly reduce blood pressure and that the level of reduction is similar to some prescribed medication for hypertension.
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Sport Vs. Medication
High blood pressure is estimated to be responsible for nearly 8 million deaths per year. Increased blood pressure is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease. While certain genetic factors and diseases can lead to high blood pressure, the main cause is often behavioural (diet, alcohol consumption, smoking, sedentary lifestyle, etc.).
In addition to medication, physical activity is often recommended for the prevention, treatment and control of high blood pressure. But is exercise as effective as medication?
Prescription drugs for hypertension are effective in significantly reducing blood pressure in patients. However, physical exercise, and in particular the combination of endurance exercise and weight training, appears to be a reliable alternative for improving the health of patients. Nevertheless, there are still too few studies directly comparing sport and medication in people with hypertension. This is understandable, since most pharmaceutical companies that finance studies have little interest in comparing their products with alternative methods over which they have no financial control.
How do you start sport if you have high blood pressure?
If you have high blood pressure, you may be wondering how to start exercising. The good news is that exercise can help lower your blood pressure. However, it is important to talk to your doctor before starting an exercise programme. This is because some types of exercise may be too strenuous for people with high blood pressure.
Your doctor can help you develop a safe and effective exercise program to lower your blood pressure. He or she can also help you monitor your blood pressure during exercise so that you stay within a safe range. In general, people with high blood pressure should avoid activities that are very strenuous or require sudden changes in activity levels. Instead, moderate intensity aerobic activities such as walking, cycling or swimming are recommended.
If you have high blood pressure and are starting an exercise programme, it is important to :
- Start slowly and gradually increase the intensity of your activity
- Monitor your blood pressure during exercise
- Stop exercising if your blood pressure becomes too high
- Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated
- Wear comfortable clothes and shoes
- Choose a time of day when you are likely to have the most energy
Remember that even moderate physical activity can help lower your blood pressure. If you are not used to exercising, don't be discouraged. Start slowly and gradually build up to more strenuous activity. And remember to consult your doctor before starting any type of exercise.
Overall, exercise is an excellent way to lower your blood pressure. However, it is important to talk to your doctor before starting an exercise programme. Some types of exercise may be too strenuous for people with high blood pressure. Once you have the green light from your doctor, start slowly and gradually increase the intensity of your activity. Also make sure you stay hydrated and comfortable when you exercise. With consistency and commitment, you can successfully reduce your blood pressure through exercise!
- Molmen-Hansen HE, Stolen T, Tjonna AE, Aamot IL, Schjerve IE, Tyldum GA, Wisloff U, Ingul CB and Stoylen A. Aerobic interval training reduces blood pressure and improves myocardial function in hypertensive patients. Eur J Prev Cardiol 19(2): 151-160, 2012.
- Naci H, Salcher-Konrad M, Dias S, Blum MR, Sahoo SA, Nunan D and Ioannidis JPA. How does exercise treatment compare with antihypertensive medications ? A network meta-analysis of 391 randomised controlled trials assessing exercise and medication effects on systolic blood pressure. Br J Sports Med 53: 859-869, 2019.
- Oliveira-Dantas FF, do Soccoro Brasileiro-Santos M, Thomas SG, Silva AS, Silva DC, Browne RAV, Farias-Junior LF, Costa EC and da Cruz Santos A. Short-Term Resistance Training Improves Cardiac Autonomic Modulation and Blood Pressure in Hypertensive Older Women: A Randomized Controlled Trial. J Strength Sports Cond Article in press, 2019.