The research shows that aerobic type exercise is very effective at reducing resting and light exercising blood pressure. There is also evidence that exercise can help protect against the development of hypertension before it even starts, particularly in men.
Resistance exercises such as going to the gym are also effective, provided the movements are dynamic, rhythmic, emphasise the eccentric component of the movement and maintain normal breathing.
Both types of exercise should be monitored – if not prescribed – by an Exercise Physiologist to ensure both safety and effectiveness. We would develop a program that works with your preferences and your health status. Not all of it has to be done in the clinic under supervision; once we know what’s safe, we will encourage you to do some outside your appointments. Integrating exercise into your week is often referred to as lifestyle modification. An example of this might be:
We can also keep in contact with your GP to ensure any long-term reductions in blood pressure are matched by reductions in your blood pressure medication so you don’t end up with hypotension (low blood pressure).
Hypertension can be managed and improved with regular participation in exercise. Exercise also has bonus side effects such as reducing the risk of falls, reducing your risk of metabolic conditions (type 2 diabetes, hypercholesterolaemia) and improving mood – none of these come with taking hypertension medication.
Talk to your GP about seeing one of our Exercise Physiologists; you may be eligible for Medicare-rebated sessions. Alternatively, give us a call and talk to us directly, we will point you in the right direction; 03 8370 3044.
For more information on managing hypertension naturally, check out our guest blog by Nutritionist Alison Wright from Alimentary.