High Blood Pressure and Physical Activity: Blood pressure flows throughout the body to meet metabolic demands. During periods of physiological stress like physical activity, exercise, or feeling overwhelmed, blood pressure can increase for a short period but is not considered dangerous or unhealthy. However, when an individual’s baseline resting blood pressure readings stay high, the risk of developing serious health conditions increases. High blood pressure is reversible with lifestyle adjustments and physical activity for a more healthy and sustainable level.
Everything individuals need to know and understand about high blood pressure includes:
Blood pressure measures the force exerted on the circulatory system. Blood pressure changes throughout the day, depending on the following:
Unlike heart rate or temperature, blood pressure is two separate measurements. Typically seen as a fraction, for example – 120/80 mmHg, each number gives the medical provider information about the function and health of the vascular system:
According to the CDC, a healthy blood pressure reading is 120/80 mmHg. As blood pressure changes throughout the day, it is recommended to have a baseline level/when at rest to remain as close as possible to these values. When baseline levels remain high, the risk of developing serious medical complications increases. Criteria for different stages of diagnosis include:
Prolonged exposure to high pressure damages the vessels and heart.
The first step to assessing baseline blood pressure is taking regular and accurate readings. An automatic blood pressure cuff and monitor at home can record readings to determine baseline values. Various factors can contribute to inaccurate readings. Here are a few tips for avoiding inaccuracy:
Aerobic activities increase the body’s need for oxygen. Getting the muscles active and moving during physical activity increases the demand for oxygen, which is why breathing and heart rate increase. The cardiovascular system includes the heart, arteries, and veins. Additional stress is added when the system goes through aerobic activity to maintain metabolic levels, improving strength and endurance. Regular aerobic exercise can decrease high baseline pressure because a stronger heart and vascular system do not need to exert as much energy to maintain cell function. Aerobic activities include:
Cardoso, Crivaldo Gomes Jr, et al. “Acute and chronic effects of aerobic and resistance exercise on ambulatory blood pressure.” Clinics (Sao Paulo, Brazil) vol. 65,3 (2010): 317-25. doi:10.1590/S1807-59322010000300013
Conceição, Lino Sergio Rocha, et al. “Effect of dance therapy on blood pressure and exercise capacity of individuals with hypertension: A systematic review and meta-analysis.” International journal of cardiology vol. 220 (2016): 553-7. doi:10.1016/j.ijcard.2016.06.182
Desai, Angel N. “High Blood Pressure.” JAMA vol. 324,12 (2020): 1254-1255. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.11289
Hollingworth, M et al. “Dose-response associations between cycling activity and risk of hypertension in regular cyclists: The UK Cycling for Health Study.” Journal of human hypertension vol. 29,4 (2015): 219-23. doi:10.1038/jhh.2014.89
Mandini, Simona, et al. “Walking and hypertension: greater reductions in subjects with higher baseline systolic blood pressure following six months of guided walking.” PeerJ vol. 6 e5471. 30 Aug. 2018, doi:10.7717/peerj.5471
Sapra A, Malik A, Bhandari P. Vital Sign Assessment. [Updated 2022 May 8]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK553213/
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The information herein on "High Blood Pressure and Physical Activity: EP Chiropractic" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, or licensed physician, and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make your own healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.
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