How exercise can effect your blood pressure?

How are high blood pressure and exercise connected? Regular physical activity makes your heart stronger. A stronger heart can pump more blood with less effort. If your heart can work less to pump, the force on your arteries decreases, lowering your blood pressure.

Becoming more active can lower your systolic blood pressure — the top number in a blood pressure reading — by an average of 4 to 9 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). That's as good as some blood pressure medications. For some people, getting some exercise is enough to reduce the need for blood pressure medication.

If your blood pressure is at a desirable level — less than 120/80 mm Hg — exercise can help keep it from rising as you age. Regular exercise also helps you maintain a healthy weight, another important way to control blood pressure.

But to keep your blood pressure low, you need to keep exercising. It takes about one to three months for regular exercise to have an impact on your blood pressure. The benefits last only as long as you continue to exercise.

How much exercise do you need?

Flexibility and strengthening exercises such as lifting weights are an important part of an overall fitness plan, but it takes aerobic activity to control high blood pressure. And you don't need to spend hours in the gym every day to benefit. Simply adding moderate physical activities to your daily routine will help.

The American Heart Association recommends you get at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise, 75 minutes of vigorous exercise or a combination of both each week. Aim for at least 30 minutes of aerobic activity most days of the week. If you can't set aside that much time at once, remember that shorter bursts of activity count, too. You can break up your workout into three 10-minute sessions of aerobic exercise and get the same benefit as one 30-minute session.


  1. Anonymous2/27/2013

    Is yoga an aerobic activity?

    1. No, it isn't. Aerobics is a form of physical exercise that combines rhythmic aerobic exercise with stretching and strength training routines with the goal of improving all elements of fitness (flexibility, muscular strength, and cardio-vascular fitness). But yoga practice incorporating sun salutation postures exceeding the minimum bout of 10 minutes may contribute some portion of sufficiently intense physical activity to improve cardio-respiratory fitness in unfit or sedentary individuals.