Lower Your Blood Pressure With These 7 Exercises

Written by Charushila Biswas , MSc (Biotechnology), ISSA Certified Fitness Nutritionist

Why depend on hypertension medication when you can lower high blood pressure with exercise? Yes, you have read it right. Staying active reduces BMI and body weight, which may reduce blood pressure (1). Evidence shows that aerobic exercises and dynamic resistance training can prevent and manage stage 1 hypertension (2). It also curbs the risk of cardiovascular diseases and is a drug-free way to stay healthy.

If you have hypertension, scroll through this article and check out 7 blood pressure-lowering exercises and 6 yoga asanas you can do, exercises to avoid, and how often to do them. Scroll down!

6 Yoga Asanas For High Blood Pressure (Video)

 Do these yoga asanas 3-4 days a week under the supervision of an instructor. Apart from the asanas, you can do the following exercises regularly to manage high blood pressure levels.

Note: Always warm up for 10 minutes before exercising or doing yoga asanas.

7 Best Exercises To Lower Blood Pressure

1. Walking

Walking is a low-impact cardio exercise that helps release serotonin, a ‘feel-good’ hormone. Scientists have found that walking 10,000 steps a day, irrespective of the intensity, could help reduce high blood pressure and improve exercising capacity (3).

Find a park or a stretch of road that has less traffic and more greenery. You can walk in the mornings or evenings, focus on breathing, and enjoy nature to lower your stress levels. Take a warm bath afterward, have a cup of tea, and you will feel more relaxed.

2. Jogging

Put those running shoes on, leave your problems at the door, and start jogging! You can start with brisk walking and gradually increase your pace to do slow jogging or moderate-paced running.

A trial found that running regularly at a moderate pace could help lower blood pressure levels in people with hypertension (4). You can jog on the treadmill or outdoors. Do cool-down stretches after you are done, and take a nice warm shower later.

3. Dancing

Dance therapy may have a positive effect in reducing hypertension (5). This aerobic exercise improves blood circulation, lowers stress, and improves balance and coordination.

Start with low-intensity dance forms and join a group that has a dedicated class for people with hypertension. You may try other high-intensity dance forms after consulting your doctor.

4. Cycling

Bicycling outdoors or indoors is a great aerobic exercise to reduce weight, tone the lower body, and lower high blood pressure levels. A study conducted on people with type 2 diabetes showed a significant reduction in blood pressure levels in people who regularly cycled (6).

Choose a bicycling lane or do indoor cycling to prevent falls and sudden jerks. Focus on your breathing, take water breaks, and wear bicycle shorts to prevent chafing.

5. Swimming

If you love water, swimming is another aerobic exercise you can enjoy to reduce hypertension. A 10-week study showed swimming to be an effective exercise to reduce resting blood pressure (7).

Always warm up before getting into the pool and wear a swimming cap and goggles. It is best to start with an instructor to help guide you through a few water exercises to improve your strength and mobility before getting into full-blown laps.

6. Dynamic Resistance Training

Dynamic resistance training involves movement. Exercises like weighted bicep curls, push-ups, bench press, etc., are dynamic resistance exercises that help burn calories, improve muscle tone, and lower blood pressure levels.

Use weights that are around 30-40% of your body weight. Ask your trainer to help if you are a beginner. Do dynamic resistance exercises 2-3 days a week, and do not lift heavy weights too soon. Avoid lifting weights if you have chronic heart issues and consult a doctor beforehand (2).

7. Isometric Resistance Training

Isometric resistance exercises do not involve movements or motions like dynamic resistance exercises. Such exercises engage the muscles and work on them without any visible body movement. For example, holding a plank is an isometric exercise. You can check out more examples of isometric exercises here.

Scientists have found isometric handgrip exercises to be more effective in lowering blood pressure than dynamic resistance training (8). However, there is insufficient evidence regarding its safety and efficacy (2).

Exercise duration and pace have a crucial impact on your blood pressure levels. Scroll down to understand how often you can do all the exercises mentioned above.

How Often To Do Them

Start by working out 3-5 days a week with a balanced mix of cardio and strength training exercises. If you work out three days a week, do cardio for two days and a day of strength training. If you work out five days a week, balance them with three days of cardio and two days of strength training. Change your workout routine depending on your progress. Talk to your trainer to design a workout routine that works for you.

People with hypertension generally have other comorbidities like obesity and heart diseases. Certain exercises can aggravate the conditions. Scroll down to know which exercises to avoid.

Which Exercises To Avoid

  • HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training)
  • Sprinting
  • Heavy weightlifting

Stick to low or moderate-intensity aerobic or strength training exercises (with light weights) to prevent further health complications. Also, modify your lifestyle to reduce stress and manage hypertension. Here are a few tips.

Other Tips

  • Reduce your salt intake.
  • Follow the DASH diet.
  • Reduce alcohol consumption.
  • Take part in group activities.
  • Learn a new skill.
  • Take a vacation every six months.
  • Stop procrastinating.
  • Talk to a specialist if you have anxiety.
  • Avoid toxic situations – professional or personal.
  • Practice deep breathing exercises.

The Takeaway

Hypertension is a common health condition that may lead to serious complications if ignored. Thankfully, you can manage it easily with medications and the right lifestyle. Regular yoga, aerobic, and strength training exercises can keep your blood pressure levels in check and help you feel better. Talk to your doctor and a professional trainer to get a customized exercise plan. Also, consult a registered dietitian to get a customized meal plan to strike an overall balance and regulate your blood pressure levels.

Sources

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. Body Mass Index is Strongly Associated with Hypertension: Results from the Longevity Check-Up 7+ Study
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC6316192/
  2. Evidence for exercise training in the management of hypertension in adults
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC4369613/
  3. Walking 10000 steps/day or more reduces blood pressure and sympathetic nerve activity in mild essential hypertension
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11131268/
  4. Running to Lower Resting Blood Pressure: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31677122/
  5. Effect of dance therapy on blood pressure and exercise capacity of individuals with hypertension: A systematic review and meta-analysis
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27390986/
  6. Effect of Cycling on Glycaemia Blood Pressure and Weight in Young Individuals with Type 2 Diabetes
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC5583829/
  7. Swimming training lowers the resting blood pressure in individuals with hypertension
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9218185/
  8. Impact of Resistance Training on Blood Pressure and Other Cardiovascular Risk Factors
    https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/hypertensionaha.111.177071

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