Exercises to help lower blood pressure

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Here are some general guidelines to consider when choosing and participating in physical activities to help prevent and manage high blood pressure:

  • Aerobic, dynamic resistance and isometric resistance exercises can help you lower blood pressure. However, you should consult your health-care provider before starting any physical activity program.
  • Since different types of physical activity can help with hypertension, be sure to enjoy a wide variety of choices, from dancing, jogging, brisk walking, raking leaves, and skating to lifting hand weights, using weight machines, and practicing isometrics.
  • Be sure to include physical activities that you truly enjoy. Not only will you feel more motivated to keep doing them; you also will continue to reap their physical, emotional, and stress reducing benefits.
  • Keep track of your heart rate and your progress. Do you have a daily planner, calendar, or wall chart? How about an app like LivNow? These are convenient ways to keep track of your heart rate, minutes spent at each activity, and any other goals, such as weight loss. It can be very motivating to have a visual account of your activities and progress.
  • Pat yourself on the back. Everyone likes to be recognized for a job well done, and you are no exception. Before you pat yourself on the back, however, set realistic yet challenging goals and reward yourself only when you reach those goals. For example, say your weekly goal is thirty minutes of moderate aerobic activity three days a week and fifteen minutes of strength training twice a week. When you complete this goal for four weeks in a row, reward yourself with a professional pedicure, a massage, or a leisurely afternoon with a great book and no interruptions!

The bottom line concerning exercise and high blood pressure is the sticky factor: you need to stick to it and make it a regular part of your lifestyle. Sure, you may miss a few days if you become ill, but as you return to your other normal activities exercise should be part of that return. Follow the suggestions in this chapter and also inject some of your own ways to stay motivated. If you take control of your exercise program and integrate it into your lifestyle, it will become second nature.

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