High Blood Pressure is one of the most prevalent cardiovascular conditions in the U.S. About 74.5 million people in the United States (age 20 and older) have high blood pressure.  High blood pressure can damage your blood vessels and, this in turn, raises your risk of Stroke, Heart Attack and Congestive Heart Failure. On average, about 70% of people being treated for these conditions have blood pressure readings that are equal to, or greater, than 140/90.  High blood pressure can also lead to other more serious conditions including atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), kidney damage, vision loss, erectile dysfunction, and memory loss.

Your risk for developing high blood pressure increases even more if you have Diabetes, are overweight or obese, smoke, have high cholesterol, or are inactive. There are medications that address high blood pressure and high cholesterol, but these medications only work effectively if they are combined with other lifestyle changes. These changes include a healthier diet, losing weight, and increasing activity levels including exercise.

How Does Exercise Lower Blood Pressure?

Regular physical activity makes your heart stronger. A stronger heart can pump more blood with less effort. If your heart can work less to pump, the force on your arteries decreases, lowering your blood pressure. Becoming more active can lower your systolic blood pressure as well— the top number in a blood pressure reading — by an average of 5 to 10 mm Hg.

A recent study in the Journal of Strength and Condition Research written by Marcia Mota, et. al. looked at a group of “15 white collar workers who averaged 43 years old and all had hypertension and provided them with a routine of 20 minutes of treadmill running and 20 minutes of resistance exercise.” They compared this group to a control group of “hypertensive white collar workers that did not do any exercise.” The study found that the blood pressure of the people in the exercise group remained significantly lower for 7 hours following the exercise program.

If you or anyone you know is at risk or has high blood pressure, we can help you to lower it by developing a customized exercise program. A physical therapist can help you reduce the risk for heart disease and stroke, along with giving you more energy for your daily activities. Call us at 516-829-0030 for a FREE fitness assessment.


The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research