Regular Physical Activity is always recommended for High Blood Pressure
Academician of European University of Lefke (EUL) Department of Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation Assist. Prof. Dr. Hilal Telli made some statements on hypertension and conveyed information on the importance of exercise for hypertension.
Telli said that Hypertension (HT) is defined as the elevation of chronic blood pressure (BP), where systolic blood pressure is ≥140 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure is ≥90 mmHg and added that while BP values below 120/80 mmHg are considered “normal” values in the range of 120-139 / 80-90 mmHg are considered as pre-hypertension. Telli emphasized that lifestyle-related changes are recommended to all patients with high blood pressure and explained ways to cope with high blood pressure.
What to do to cope with high blood pressure?
- One should know the weight he / she is healthy and he / she should stay at that weight. Weight should be reduced if body mass index (BMI) is higher than 25 kg / m2.
- Consumption of salt should be limited.
- Consumptions of alcohol should be avoided and smoking should be quitted.
- Fruit and vegetable consumption should be increased, saturated and total fat consumption should be reduced.
- Medicines should be taken regularly.
- Regular physical activity should be done.
Telli further said that “Physical inactivity is a major risk factor for cardiovascular diseases. Increased physical activity is strongly recommended as an adjunct to medical treatment or as part of a lifestyle change for hypertensive people” and listed the benefits of regular physical activity as;
Hypertension and Regular Exercise
- Reduces high blood pressure
- Reduces the dose of the antihypertensive drug used or eliminate the need for the drug
- Reduces the risk of cardiovascular and other chronic diseases
- Increases the energy; reduces the stress
- Helps losing weight
- Strengths the muscles and bones
- Increases life quality
Telli also said that “Researches show that regular exercise reduces blood pressure by 10 mmHg on average in hypertensive patients with low to moderate cardiovascular risk. This amount is similar to the effect obtained with blood pressure medications. Therefore, the first stage treatment of hypertensive patients with low-moderate cardiovascular risk is regular physical activity” amd added that in the treatment of hypertensive patients with high cardiovascular risk, regular physical activity is always recommended in addition to pharmacological (drug) therapy.
Telli said that aerobic activities in hypertensive patients is the most effective type of exercise for the control of high blood pressure and added that flexibility (stretching) and strengthening exercises are an important part of the exercise program. Telli also said that “It has been proven by scientific studies that moderate intensity exercise can lower blood pressure more effectively than heavy intensity exercise. Patients should undergo a risk analysis and a preliminary exercise test before beginning moderate and severe exercise programs. Exercise prescription should be specific to the individual’s cardiovascular and musculoskeletal status and desires”.
Points that should be taking into consideration while exercising
- First warm-up exercises (10-15 minutes) should be done.
- Flexibility exercises should be done during warm-up and cooling
- Heart rate should be monitored while exercising
- Activities that you enjoy doing should be carried out in groups.
- Breath should not be held during exercise.
- At the end of the exercises, the activity level should be reduced gradually and cooling exercises should be performed for 5-10 minutes.
Long-term activities such as climbing stairs, walking, light jogging, cycling and swimming, which accelerate heart rate or breathing, are among aerobic exercise types.
Studies have shown that moderate / high aerobic exercise reduces blood pressure, and the best blood pressure lowering effect is achieved at least three times a week in 40-60 min sessions.
Flexibility (Stretching) Exercises
These exercises are performed by holding different muscle groups in a tense position for 10-20 seconds, thus increasing the flexibility of that muscle group over time. Flexibility exercises should be done during warm-up and cooling during exercise.
Resistant exercises such as weight lifting and isometric exercises are generally not recommended for people with hypertension. In hypertensive patients, strengthening exercises should be used together with aerobic exercises and applied more to the main muscle groups. Low resistance and multiple repetitive strengthening exercises are ideal.