Hypertension, or high blood pressure, impacts 1.13 billion people worldwide. This serious medical condition can increase the risk of a number of diseases, including heart, kidney and brain disease. However, there are some easy ways to reduce your risk of high blood pressure.
According to experts, exercising is one of the best ways to naturally alleviate hypertension and the symptoms associated.
Nataly Komova, fitness and nutritionist expert for JustCBD, told Express.co.uk that people should aim to exercise for at least 30 minutes each day.
She explained: “One should try to get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity.
“The key thing if you’re not used to exercising is to start slowly.
“Aim for at least 30 minutes of aerobic activity most days of the week.
“You can break up your workout into three 10-minute sessions of aerobic exercise and get the same benefit as one 30-minute session.”
However, for those who are at a heightened risk of hypertension, starting with an excessive regime too suddenly could actually have a negative impact, according to Ruth Stone, consultant PT for sports and fitness equipment specialists www.sweatband.com.
She explained: “Any high exertion activity will increase the blood pressure, and if it also includes movement where the hands are raised above the head – or the head itself moves up and down quickly -the demands on the Cardiovascular system are even greater.
“So, as a general rule, these ought to be avoided initially for those with hypertension planning a return to exercise.
“However, there are several exercises of varying intensities that can be practised relatively safely that over time will lower blood pressure overall. None of them should be undertaken without the advice of your doctor.”
Five expert-recommended workouts to help reduce the risk of high blood pressure
Both experts recommend some form of walking as part of your daily exercise.
Whether it’s a low impact stroll or breaking a bit of a sweat by adding some speed, walking is a great way to reduce blood pressure.
Ms Stone explained: “A power walk will get the heart rate elevated gradually and sustain the intensity having done so, which makes it a great option for those with high blood pressure.
“If you have a smartwatch, use it to discover your resting heart rate and try to walk at a pace that keeps you able to talk without getting breathless, recording your heart rate then.
“After the walk, time how long it takes you to return to your resting heart rate – it should be within five minutes.
“The fitter you get, the higher your heart rate will get when you exercise, and the quicker it will recover when you stop; this will also help lower blood pressure over time.”
Aerobic exercise, such as cycling, can help to reduce blood pressure.
While cycling can be a high impact sport, it can also be done at a more leisurely pace for beginners.
Stationary cycling or outdoor biking for 30 minutes each day is recommended, though this can be split into three 10 minute blocks.
Swimming is particularly good for people who may struggle from joint pain, or who are unable to take on more high impact exercises.
When performed regularly, swimming is reported to be very effective in reducing blood pressure in patients with hypertension.
This can be achieved with varying levels of intensity, ranging from mild to moderate.
As with all the expert-recommended exercises, 30 minutes is the optimum amount of time for health benefits.
A little bit of HIIT
While high-intensity workouts aren’t always recommended for those suffering from hypertension, Ms Stone points out their effectiveness when it comes to “metabolic conditioning”.
She told Express.co.uk: “High-Intensity Interval Training is determined by your level of fitness – if you feel it’s intense then it is.
“Choose exercises that keep the head above the heart initially: squat jumps, shuttle runs, or kettlebell swings, for example.
“Do 30 seconds on and 30 seconds off to begin with for 10 minutes after warming up.
“Then move to 40 seconds on and 20 off as you get fitter. From here, build to periods of active recovery, for example, jumping jacks for 40 seconds and wide squats for 20.
“You should be breathless at the beginning of your rest period and ready to go again when it ends – although this will decline for longer workouts.
“This approach to exercise results in metabolic conditioning; the heart is stronger and the cardiovascular system more efficient, which will lower your blood pressure significantly over time.”
Yoga is another great low-impact form of exercise which may be more accessible to those who are unable to engage in high impact sports.
Ms Stone said: “Most forms of Yoga can help lower high blood pressure, but serious sufferers of the condition would do well to consider Yin Yoga, which is a passive form of the discipline.
“It features passive, restorative postures held for long periods of time, and its primary focus is opening the body physically to build mobility and appease the movement of energy around the body.
“As such, it is well-suited to someone living with hypertension, as the heart rate is not only kept low but actually slows down during the practice, which over time can have an impact on resting heart rate, and therefore blood pressure.”