If you have high blood pressure, one of the most important things that you can do is exercise, since exercising can help keep your heart pumping strong, and it is a good way to lose weight. You might think that you can exercise the same way if you have high blood pressure, but that is not true, and you have to take important precautions to stay safe. After living with someone with high blood pressure for a number of years, here are four tips I have learned about exercising safely with this condition.
Gradually Increase Exercise
If you have high blood pressure and want to start exercising, the key is to start slow and build up your exercise routine gradually. You don’t just want to go try to run a mile or two starting off, because this can be dangerous and potentially life-threatening, and it can significantly increase your heart rate. You always want to start off by doing 10 minutes or so of exercise, then slowly increase by two minutes each time you workout. You should also start out doing one or two days a week, then gradually building to four or five days week. If you want to do an hour of exercise, then make a calendar starting off with 10 minutes, and keep adding two minutes to each day, which means it will take you about 28 days to get to that goal. Don’t become too cocky when you begin your workout routine, because this can lead to injury or serious health problems, and just do what you know your own body can handle. I think that people just want to compete with others and try to outdo them exercising, but you just can’t do that if you have high blood pressure.
Aerobic Exercise is Best
If you have high blood pressure and are thinking about exercising, it is also important to realize that aerobic exercises will be the most beneficial. Aerobic exercises are also known as cardiovascular exercises, which means that the heart is being strengthened during these workouts. Walking, running, jogging, swimming, and biking all are very great types of aerobic exercises to start doing. You have so many options when it comes to aerobic exercises, so that means you can change up what types of exercises you do each week, and that will help keep you excited about working out. If you don’t want to bike outside on the road, you can just get a stationary bike and use that, which is great because you can do that from the comfort of your own living room. Water aerobics is likely one of the best activities you can do, since aerobic exercises have a lot of benefits, and can even help inflammation or joint pain. You can add a little weightlifting in your routine if you want, but your main goal should always be to do the exercises that will strengthen and build the heart. My cousin wasn’t into outdoor activities very much, so he decided on the stationary bike, and he loves it because he can watch television or listen to music at the same time. So you really need to find something you love in the aerobic exercise group, because that will help you stick with it for the long haul.
Keep Breathing Comfortably
When it comes to high blood pressure, you might think that the best way to gauge your exercise limits is to use the blood pressure monitor, and that is just not true. When it comes to exercising, you just need to listen to your body and breathing, which really helps you figure out the intensity of your workout. You need to make sure you are continuing to breathe comfortably and in rhythm, because if your breathing becomes difficult or irregular that can be a warning sign you are doing too much for your heart to keep up. Obviously, if you notice your short of breath or if your breathing is labored and irregular, you need to stop immediately and consult your doctor. You might notice you are short of breath when you first start working out, which is normal, but you should quickly find a pace that keeps you breathing comfortably. I know when my cousin first started working out, he was really out of breath within two minutes, so he stopped for a while, and then continued at a slower pace. It took him about a week to really listen to his breathing and gauge his true workout intensity, and then he began noticing his breathing was regular and relaxed.
Lift Only Light Weights
One big issue when it comes to having high blood pressure and working out is exerting too much energy, which happens a lot when you are working out with weights. It is important that if you have high blood pressure, you lift weights with only semi-heavy weights, because it can cause a lot of pressure around your heart. Even if you are a big man or woman that typically can lift 40 or more pounds, you need to really cutback when it comes to weightlifting. You really should not lift more than 20 pound weights if you have high blood pressure, even if you are on medications to control your high blood pressure. No matter what, you should always start off with small five pound weights, then gradually increase the weights each week until you are at 15 pounds or so. If you are lifting the maximum amount of weight you can, you are going to notice your blood pressure will shoot up instantly, and this can cause a life-threatening situation. My cousin can lift well into 60 pounds or more, but he notices how dizzy and lightheaded he gets, and his breathing also became very irregular. When he dropped down to just 10 pound weights with more repetitions, his breathing was comfortable, and he felt a lot better during the exercise. You can up the repetitions if you want or increase the number of days you lift weights, but never try to do more than what your body tells you is appropriate.