Exercise for Hypertension

Updated at: Jan 16, 2013
Exercise for Hypertension
Yashmeen Manak
Sports and FitnessWritten by: Yashmeen ManakPublished at: Jan 27, 2012

Hypertension exerciseA)    Aerobic or Cardiovascular exercises




Brisk walking – treadmill or outdoors, cycling – stationary or outdoors, swimming.




At a moderate intensity of 40% to 70% of HRR (Heart Rate Reserve)




Minimum 3 to preferably 7 days a week




30 to 60 minutes. You may do it in parts of 3 sessions of 20 minutes or multiple bouts of short duration (10 to 15 minutes) throughout the day.

B)    Resistance Training:


Weight training should be done twice a week. Light weights with more repetitions are suggested.




Avoid isometric exercises, that is where you have to hold or pause for a few seconds and avoid Valsalva maneuvers (holding the breath while weight training or any other exercise).




Hypertension is commonly known as high blood pressure. Blood pressure (BP) refers to the pressure of blood which is forced on the inside walls of the blood vessels with every heart beat. The average resting BP is 120 mmHg (Systolic) / 80 mmHg (Diastolic) but when this force exerted by blood is equal to or exceeds 140mm Hg or 90 mm Hg,  it is considered high and abnormal and the medical condition is called hypertension. Hypertension is a heart disease and it increases the possibility of having a heart attack. It is clustered with other risk factors associated with heart disease (such as Dyslipidemia, obesity and diabetes). Most of the people with hypertension fall into the moderate or high-risk category for heart diseases.

Exercise can control hypertension by strengthening the heart muscle, increasing the heart’s working capacity, improving blood flow and hence lowering blood pressure. It also helps in decreasing body fat which is one of the causes of high blood pressure. Most individuals have a mild to moderate increases in BP which can be controlled by following an exercise regime, losing excess body fat, reducing salt intake and eating a healthful diet. Exercise reduces the BP by approximately 10 mmHg, both systolic and diastolic, in people with mild to moderate hypertension.

If the BP is very high, say 160/100 or above, medical treatment should be the first step. Once the BP is under control with medications, exercise can decrease it further. In any case, it is always important to consult a doctor.


People suffering from hypertension should avoid stress and strain and exercise regularly as exercise plays a major part in controlling blood pleasure. Consult a physician before starting an exercise program. A low impact aerobics, swimming and walking are good cardio exercise options. Exercise four times in a week and make sure you include a good warm up and cool down routine.


Here are some dos and don’ts

  • Do not hold your breath or strain while exercising.
  • Avoid heavy weight lifting.
  • Lift light weight and perform many repetitions.
  • Discontinue exercising if you experience any abnormal symptoms.
  • Record your blood pressure before and after exercising
  • Move slowly while getting up from the floor.
  • Do not stop all of sudden after an exercise session as you will feel a sudden drop in your blood pressure.



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