Sunday, April 6, 2014

Blood Pressure during Exercise

This information was taken mostly from a now forgotten web site. If it looks familiar to you let me know and I'll see that they get full credit. If you are as confused or concerned about blood pressure, maybe this will help you as it did me.

Your blood pressure varies throughout your day depending on what you are doing. The more active you are the harder your blood has to be pumped and this then causes the blood pressure to rise. 


It shouldn't surprise you that normal pressure should rise during exercise and then return to normal once you are finished. If you do
exercises consistently, it will help to lower highbood pressure. However, if the pressure rises too high and/or does not return to normal, there may be a problem.

Let's look at why blood pressure increases during exercise and know if it's normal. When you are exercising your muscles need more oxygen. The heart then pumps more blood around your body with more powerful contractions which will make your blood pressure increase. Your systolic blood pressure increases during exercise as the cardiovascular system delivers more blood to the working muscles and your diastolic blood pressure stays roughly the same or decrease slightly.

The normal blood pressure varies for many different reasons, such as age, amount of physical activity, profession etc. As you learned in last week's article, the average is 120/80. That is, 120 for systolic and 80 for diastolic. But it can range anywhere from 90/60 to 130/80. If your blood pressure is above 140/90 while you are resting, it is a cue for hypertension. Then, you better be seeing a doctor.

In most cases, the diastolic rate changes vary little if any while you exercise. If there is an increase though of more than 20, or if the diastolic rate becomes 100 or more, you should discontinue exercise right away. If you have high blood cholesterol levels, which is known as hypercholesterolemia, or coronary artery disease your diastolic rate can increase significantly while you are exercising. If you do have any of these conditions, I would hope you would be working with a doctor by now.

The following can help you to understand the diastolic rates and their categories:


Diastolic rate of 80 or under- normal
Diastolic rate of 85-89- cause for concern
Diastolic rate over 90- hypertension
Diastolic rate between 90 and 99- stage 1 hypertension
Diastolic rate of 100-109- stage 2 hypertension
Diastolic rate over 109- stage 3 hypertension

It is imperative to note that hypertension not only requires more energy for the heart to be able to pump the blood, but it can also lead to congestive heart failure as well.

So what about that higher number, the systolic? A normal range for a systolic rate during exercise is between 160 and 220; if you are overweight the rise in blood pressure is somewhat higher. If you fall into the normal range at rest but your pressure reaches 190 after exercising, this is a good cue that you will suffer from high blood pressure in the future. 

Weight lifters have significantly higher systolic rates. The reason for this is, while they lift weights, there is a reduction in the amount of oxygen, because their muscles constrict. This requires the muscles and organs to get more oxygen rich blood. Do keep in mind, any and all overexertion can lead to heart attacks or strokes, so it is important not to overdo it.

So, why can exercise help? Regular exercise can help to lower your blood pressure, as long as you keep it up. That’s because exercises make the heart stronger so that it can pump more blood with less effort.

By maintaining exercising and being more active you can lower your systolic rate. As we all know exercise is good for all of us for so many reasons and this is just another great reason to exercise regularly and not to stop, because if you discontinue the regular exercising, the blood pressure will jump right back up. It does take about 3 months initially for the exercise to begin to lower your blood pressure.

It is recommended that you exercise either 2½ hours of moderate exercise or 1 hour and 15 minutes of vigorous exercise a week, or even a combination of the two. Moderate exercises, which can be any aerobic exercise that increases both your heart and breathing rates, include exercises, such as swimming, bicycling, jogging, walking (speed, or power), etc.

Household chores, such a scrubbing, mopping, mowing, raking etc. are also included in the moderate exercise category. So, why not do 30 minutes once a day only five days a week or 20-25 minutes seven days a week? If you think about it, it does not really take all that much extra work, and you can achieve it by just pumping up the regular way you do things, like walking or cleaning. If necessary you can even do a few quick bursts a day, they count too.

Now you know there is always a warning and you've read some already in this article. It is always necessary to consult a physician before beginning any exercise routine to treat hypertension. There are concerns that a doctor must discuss with you and also they can help you to design the proper workout for you. If you have any underlying factors, such as high cholesterol and diabetes, there are major concerns, such as developing hypertension, so again it is necessary to consult your physician to be safe, rather than sorry. Extra care should also be taken about exercise when you are having high blood pressure.

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