High blood pressure, or hypertension, is commonly known as a "silent killer": it’s sneaky and painless, and a disease typically found in developed countries, which affects 1 in 4 people in the UK, with over 5 million people not realising they have it.
That’s a huge percentage of the UK population which is affected by high blood pressure!
Alcohol, tobacco, stress, physical inactivity, being overweight and obese and having type 1 or type 2 diabetes, are all factors in causing atherosclerosis – which is when blood vessels and arteries get blocked by fatty materials.
High blood pressure is a massive risk factor for cardiovascular disease (responsible for 45% of all deaths per year in Europe) and stroke, and although high blood pressure can be cured, it isn’t always easy.
What makes high blood pressure all the more dangerous is that it is difficult to detect, and many people don’t even know they have it.
The treatment of high blood pressure, once detected, involves three main people:
- The patient, who must make changes to their diet and lifestyle, such as reducing the intake of salt and alcohol, and quitting smoking
- The doctor, who advises on ways to make positive lifestyle changes and prescribes appropriate medications, and maintains this guidance in regular follow-ups
- The personal trainer, who develops a personalized training program specifically adapted to the patient’s individual situation and needs
If you're asking "Is a personal trainer near me important to treat this?" We’re here to show you why the answer is yes both in the short- and long-term treatment of this condition!
Superprof is here to show you the impact of physical activity in treating and curing high blood pressure.
Can Exercise Really Cure High Blood Pressure?
Yes – and it’s undeniable! Physical activity is proven to reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
About 16 million people in the UK have high blood pressure, and this condition becomes more prominent with age.
A person is considered to have high blood pressure if it is 140/90mmHg or higher. ideal blood pressure is considered to be between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg, and low blood pressure is considered to be 90/60mmHg or lower.
Many of us reach the critical threshold by the age of 30 to 35, as the energy expended by the heart increases systematically with age.
Engaging in physical activity or sports such as walking, running, swimming or cycling has many health benefits with very low risks attached.
These exercises particularly help to keep muscles and the respiratory system healthy and strong, which is especially important in people over the age of 50. Doing exercise in the gym, at home or outdoors is invaluable for healthy aging.
Just take a look at Ed Whitlock - an 85-year-old Canadian runner who managed to run the Toronto marathon in three hours and 56 minutes, about the same time as a 30-year-old!
Being sedentary, on the other hand, increases oxidation of viable cells in the body and doesn’t allow for the stretching of muscle tissue, thus causing inflammation.
Physical activity promotes blood circulation and regulates blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
In addition to this, regular exercise keeps the heart healthy and energetic: sports activities are therefore great for reducing heart disease.
High blood pressure is dangerous for your health because it can lead to heart failure, heart attacks and stroke.
A US study conducted in 2012 on 6,000 adults confirms that regular exercise reduces the risk of hypertension. The study concludes that subjects with a family history of hypertension decreased their risk of developing hypertension by 34% when they exercised regularly.
Physical activity should be moderate, sustained and regular. Whether it’s for weight loss, relieving stress or treating other recurring illnesses or addictions, exercise will help to reduce high blood pressure, and you’ll start seeing significant results within three weeks of training!
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High Blood Pressure: What Precautions Should Be Taken Before Personal Training?
Before subscribing to a personal sports coach, it is recommended that you make an appointment to see your doctor for a check-up and consultation.
This is because after a long period of a sedentary lifestyle, blood vessels can start to accumulate materials that can eventually cause blockages. This is usually completely painless, and for that reason a latent and insidious problem.
Sometimes cardiac conditions and diseases can be silent too: people don’t always experience any symptoms. Hence the value of a medical opinion and having your blood pressure measured.
Here are some tips to follow before seeking expertise of a personal trainer:
- See your doctor for a health check and to discuss what exercise would suit you
- Carry out an echocardiography and a cardiovascular assessment to determine a fitness plan
- Purchase a blood pressure monitor and take regular readings
- Avoid sports activities that are too fast and intense as this can put your heart at further risk
- Do 3 to 4 workouts of about 30 minutes to one hour per week
- Choose a sport that that allows for reasonable effort and rest periods
- Measure your heart rate during exertion, and make sure to take a break if your pulse is too high
- Make sure you properly warm-up before physical activity and stretch down afterwards
- Alongside regular activity, try to move around a little bit each day – opt for walking over the bus, take the stairs instead of the escalator, cycle rather than taking the tube, etc.
- Do breathing exercises: breathing is essential for blood circulation and for oxygenating blood vessels - practise breathing in for five seconds and out for five seconds
- Be sure to eat three balanced meals a day, including lots of fruits and vegetables
- Stay well hydrated throughout the day and especially during and after exercise
You can measure your own blood pressure easily in the comfort of your own home, no need to visit your doctor! Home blood pressure monitors are affordable and easy to find online and at most pharmacies, and will help you keep an eye on things as regularly as you need.
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The Benefits of Exercise for People with High Blood Pressure
When you have hypertension, some people assume that exercising isn’t the best idea as they fear that raising the heart beat can’t be good for already high blood pressure.
In fact, it’s exactly the opposite: a lack of physical activity is one of the biggest risk factors for high blood pressure, and a mistake that many people fall into.
There are even some athletes, including high-level athletes, who have high blood pressure: the causes of this disease can also be hereditary, and is strongly linked to lifestyle and environmental factors such as smoking and alcohol consumption.
Children of hypertensive parents are also twice as likely to develop high blood pressure in turn, so it’s important to consider if your high blood pressure might have been passed on to you.
This is why so many medical professionals and sports trainers are crying out for people to turn to exercise as a treatment for high blood pressure. Physical activity is the best defence!
It goes without saying that exercise is the best treatment for obese and overweight people, and both are at risk of high blood pressure.
Whether you are, for example, swimming, weight training, jogging, walking, cycling or dancing, exercise burns fat and accelerates weight loss whilst also building and strengthening muscle.
Exercise, as well as lowering blood sugar levels and preventing diabetes, pumps the blood and muscles with oxygen via haemoglobin - so the risks of ischemia (inadequate blood supply around the body) is therefore reduced.
Endurance sports make the cardiovascular system adapt, and the alternation of effort and rest helps to reduce blood pressure.
And an added bonus is that regular exercise isn’t just great for a healthy functioning body, but it will get also naturally help to refine your physique – so you can feel great and look great!
When we exercise we tend to focus on the appearance or weight loss side of things, and we often overlook just how beneficial it is for strengthening the cardiovascular system too.
Regular physical activity can therefore massively reduce the prevalence of cardiovascular disease – remember that a decrease of merely 2 mmHg reduces stroke mortality rates by 6%!
Which Exercise is Best for Treating High Blood Pressure?
Even if hypertension can’t be completely eliminated, sports coaches will nevertheless recommend practicing endurance sports as treatment for the condition.
It’s important to steer clear of sports that restrict your breathing too much, even in a minor way, because they will cause heart rate peaks and raise your pulse too much, which isn’t ideal for an already-fragile heart.
It’s best to choose a sport that isn’t too intense and that suits your individual respiratory and cardiovascular capabilities. You can check with your doctor or search for an online personal trainer to make sure you’re doing an appropriate activity for your circumstances.
So maybe stay away from martial arts and intense athletics! Instead, opt for activities that focus on endurance and moderate effort, such as:
- Walking or speed walking
- Certain fitness classes, such as Zumba, aerobics or aquafit
For sedentary and elderly people, it’s recommended that you aim for at least 30 minutes of walking a day. You can fit this into your day in all sorts of ways:
- Start walking to work if it’s near enough
- Walk to the shops
- Go for a stroll around the block
- Take your dog for a walk, a bit further than usual
And that’s just to name a few! There are plenty of ways you can inject more activity into your daily routine. Making these changes today could prevent illness in the future, and not just hypertension. Exercise has proved beneficial to cancer patients. Even those with mental illnesses notice an improvement when they exercise regularly.