As you likely already know, working out is imperative for your overall health. That said, it holds a special significance if you suffer from high blood pressure.
While exercising can strengthen the heart and reduce blood pressure averages over time, it can also be dangerous if done improperly or without taking the necessary precautions.
The fact of the matter is, there's no one ideal way to work out. In order to develop a healthy training plan, you need to consider your overall health, limitations, and fitness goals. If you suffer from high blood pressure, it's often best to consult a cardiologist or physician when designing a new fitness plan. If you're considering becoming more active and currently live with hypertension, take a look at these tips for safely working out with high blood pressure.
1. Maintain awareness
To ensure that you're maintaining a safe level of exertion while working out with high blood pressure, you have to be aware of your body. It's common when exercising to ignore little aches and pains or even not notice periods of stress that may be unhealthy.
If you're working out with high blood pressure, take the time to invest in a decent heart rate monitor before you begin your new regimen. Check this monitor frequently during the course of your workouts to ensure you aren't pushing your heart rate out of the desired target zone. Also, according to Prevention, some blood pressure medications can have a significant impact on your heart rate, so be sure to consult with a doctor before taking a new medication or starting a training plan.
2. Warm up
While regular cardiovascular exercise can be instrumental in reducing your blood pressure, it can be detrimental to the health of your heart if not approached correctly. Sudden large spikes in your heart rate can raise your blood pressure, so be sure to warm up properly.
Design a routine that consists of stretching and light jogging for at least 15 minutes before any serious workout. Ideally, you'll have already broken a sweat by the time you get to the majority of your set, allowing your body to prepare for what's to come. Also, make sure you aren't going to the gym with any unnecessary stimulants (such as caffeine) in your bloodstream, as these raise your blood pressure and put unwanted stress on your heart.
You can avoid a great deal of unwanted risk when exercising with hypertension by simply forming a regular schedule and sticking to it. This allows your body to get used to the physical activity and makes it easier for you to honor your workout plan. The American Heart Association recommends 40 minutes of "moderate to vigorous" physical activity at least four days every week for those trying to reduce hypertension. Try starting with smaller blocks of time and working your way up.