We’re probably all well aware of it by now; an increasingly sedentary lifestyle is one of Britain’s silent killers. Days spent chained to the desk, stooped over a computer or peering into a phone certainly do no favours at all for our eyes, our waistline, our backs or our blood pressures. Indeed, a sedentary lifestyle is one of the biggest contributors to high blood pressure. It goes without saying, then, that exercise can not only reduce but control it.
The good news is that you don’t have to be running marathons every day or benching big numbers to reduce your blood pressure. All that’s required is moderate activity and a concerted effort to shift those sedentary tendencies. With this in mind, here are 4 IDEAL exercises to help reduce blood pressure.
Different kinds of exercise and activity have different effects on your body. If you have high blood pressure and are looking to lower it, focus on activities that will help your heart and blood vessels. Aerobic activity is one of the best types of exercises to help your heart, and you should aim to do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week for best results. That means walking, swimming, dancing and jogging. If you’re new to pounding the tarmac, make sure you stretch well beforehand, and have running shoes with the correct ankle and knee support. Should you be particularly prone to injury or sore limbs, then an insole, such as Magneto 500 Plus, will save you from those debilitating aches and pains the next day.
Who doesn’t find at least a little tension released when stretching your hands skyward? You know, that over exaggerated yawn we’ve all seen a million times on cartoons? Well studies suggest that carrying out regular stretching exercises may help reduce your risk of high blood pressure. Stiff arteries (blood vessels) increase your risk of developing higher blood pressure, stroke and heart disease. So start stretching those muscles and touch your toes if you want to keep your heart healthy.
Speaking of stretching, according to the NHS, evidence suggests that regular yoga practice is beneficial for people with high blood pressure. And you don’t have to be able to twist into pretzel shapes and contort your body something holy to enjoy the physical benefits of a good yoga session. There are, however, certain yoga poses to avoid if you have high blood pressure, namely inversions, as when the head is below the heart, there’s an increased risk of stroke. While aerobic activities – like walking, dancing, jogging, riding your bike, and swimming are best for your heart, a holistic combination of yoga and exercise that gets your heart pumping is perhaps best practice. Of course you should always consult your Doctor before taking up a new exercise regime should you have high blood pressure.
Yep, we know what you’re thinking – household chores are not exercise. However, chores do in fact count towards calorie busting (90 calories every quarter of an hour, to be exact) and can lower your blood pressure reading when done regularly and with the right enthusiasm. Of course, a tidy home also equates to a tidy mind, and a lessening of stress is associated with better heart and blood health. A tenuous link perhaps, but one which merits further investigation. The worst that could happen is a cleaner house….there really is no reason not to.