The Relationship Between Blood Pressure and Exercise

The correlation between lower blood pressure and exercise is clear. Here are some guidelines to keep in mind

You probably won't be shocked to learn that there's a direct and positive correlation between lower blood pressure and exercise. After all, your doctor surely told you to take better care of yourself when you learned about your hypertension, and part of that is dieting and a more active lifestyle.

Of course, exercise is good for you only up to a point; as a hypertensive individual, you don't want to get your heart pumping too hard. But the good news is, even minor household tasks can help you keep your blood pressure down.

How's That?

We hate to tell you this, but if you've been handing off your household chores to your kids, you'd be better off taking them back. Even light activities like doing the dishes or vacuuming the floor can help you burn calories; and in turn, that can knock down your blood pressure a surprising amount.

How much? Well, according to a recent study by Indiana University researchers, basic household activities, conducted just a few hours a week, can help you lower your systolic blood pressure reading by an average of 13 points.

Well, So What?

So consider this: some blood pressure medications don't do any better than that. What if you could avoid taking them? If you're borderline hypertensive, mowing the lawn and trimming the hedge instead of sitting around watching Swamp People might push your blood pressure below the standard 140/90 hypertensive marker.

What Do I Need to Do?

Basically, all you have to do to tame your blood pressure somewhat is burn 150 calories a few times a week. That's not especially hard, but the problem for most of us is figuring out how to tell we've hit the 150 calorie mark.

If you're worried, buy yourself an accelerometer to measure the calories you've expended during a particular activity. These are a step above the old pedometers you might have used in the past, and sure, a good one will cost a bit -- maybe as much as fifty bucks. But they're worth it!

The best accelerometers will let you input your weight and age. Then you can clip the device to your waistband, set it running, and it'll record your movements, no matter what you're doing.

And If I'm Frugal?

If you're unwilling to buy an accelerometer, it's really not that difficult to count your calories by finding a good online site, determining the calorie cost of particular activities, and then tracking your time. Honestly, all you really need to do is keep busy with basic chores and work up a light sweat.

Do that, and your blood pressure and exercise quotient will take care of itself -- and you'll be better off for it.

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