4 Relaxing Exercises to Help Regulate Blood Pressure

exercise to improve blood pressure

Hypertension is a growing problem which can be caused by some factors such as lack of physical activities, obesity, smoking and high sodium intake. The good news is that there are some ways that you can manage your high blood pressure. Some of the ways include changing your diet, exercising and avoiding stress.

Aside from avoiding stress, it is even more important that you learn to deal with it. One way Health practitioners use to treat patients with high blood pressure is through teaching them those exercises to help in relaxing. They are an important set of skills, but if you are suffering from high blood pressure, then the techniques are essential to your health in particular.

You do not have to be taught by a practitioner as some of them you can easily learn on your own. Relaxation techniques are all about trying to focus your attention on something that will calm you and raise body awareness. Whichever the relaxation technique you choose, try and practice it regularly so as to rip the full benefits. Consider the following breathing exercises to help you in controlling your blood pressure:

Meditationvisualization

It is a technique which will only assist you to relax in the immediate moment. Aside from helping you to relax it also helps lower blood pressure levels throughout your day and not only when practicing it[1]. To be able to meditate successfully you will have to master the rest of the relaxation exercises that are to be discussed below although you can also practice it on its own. You can begin by meditating for about five minutes by repeating a word or phrase. The key is to concentrate on your breathing and let go of all the stressful thoughts that come to your mind. With further practice, you can begin to extend your meditation periods.

Muscle relaxationblood pressure stretches

The challenge here is to tighten and relax your muscles throughout the body. The exercise can be done from head to toe or the other way around. You can start with your head and neck by tensing the muscles. Maintain the tension for some seconds and feel your body then release the muscle. Remember to do that throughout your body. For each muscle hold the pressure for about five seconds, then release it for 30 seconds.

Autogenic relaxation

This technique is a little similar to the muscle relaxation exercises. You can take about fifteen minutes or so to perform the exercise. It is all about improving awareness of your body sensations and how they change as a way of responding to stress. The technique is considered as a simple way to activate the fight-or-flight hormone[2]. Begin the exercise by positioning yourself in a comfortable relaxing state then observe how your body feels.

Continue by working your way all through the body. For example, you can start by saying the phrase “my right arm is warm and light”, repeat the words several times while imagining that what you are saying is true of that right arm. You should then switch to your other arm and continue to work your body in that process and pay attention to where you feel more tension. You can also introduce other phrases which will help you to relax your body like “my breathing is slow and stable” or even “my mind is relaxed and at peace”

Visualizationvisualization

It is another technique that physiotherapists use to help their patients relax and in that case lower blood pressure levels. I’m sure you are familiar with that feeling which comes when you close your eyes then imagine to be somewhere you love like a beautiful beach on a sunny day. Even if you are having a miserable day, you just feel some relaxation flowing through your body.

It is visualization, but for you to do the exercise correctly, try and have a thorough imagination as possible. It means that you should not just visualize but regarding the other four senses as well which include touching, hearing, tasting and smelling. Whichever your ideal place that brings you calm be it a busy street or a mountain in the snow, focus on imagining that particular location [3]. By doing that, it will help you to relax and lower your blood pressure.

You will realize that most of the above techniques require a calm and quiet environment, but eventually, with time you can be able to turn on your relaxation response even where there is chaos. Your overall goal should be to lower the blood pressure and improving your overall health. The above relaxation techniques will do more than just that to you. It will result in a better quality of life over time. Make sure that you practice them regularly in order to increase their efficacy.

References

  1. http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/stress-raising-your-blood-pressure-take-a-deep-breath-201602159168
  2. https://bebrainfit.com/autogenic-training/
  3. http://abcnews.go.com/WN/secret-lowering-blood-pressure-breathing-exercises/story?id=11656769

 

5 Exercises to Improve Blood Pressure

blood pressure

Many naysayers will tell you that exercise will aggravate a blood pressure problem, as your blood pressure is connected to your heart’s activity. And, yes, that would be true, with the exception that regular exercise improves the muscle strength of your heart, and in so doing so, helps your blood pressure to be regulated. A strong heart will be able to pump more blood with less effort. This equates to your arteries having to work less, and essentially lowering your blood pressure.

Your blood pressure will rise during any exercises, but it will soon relax to a normal activity after your have cooled down. The best type of exercise to improve your blood pressure would be any type essentially, but it is idealistic to choose exercise that is aerobic. [1]

And by aerobic, we mean the type that raises your heart rate above normal day-to-day beats. Having said that, any exercise, no matter how little, will bring on positive results to your body and lifestyle, as a whole.

You want to be maintaining blood pressure a little lower than or equal to 120/80 mm HG. Weight control is paramount to keeping your blood pressure down. The more weight you hold, the better chance of your body taking strain and your blood pressure rising. In particular, when you start to age, your body, overall, will take a lot more effort to function, and the blood pressure is generally one of the first areas to show the age.

While we suggest including one or a few of these aerobic exercise regimes into your daily lifestyle, we do also recommend that you check in with your doctor first.

Regular exercise is vital to a holistic healthy lifestyle, but especially if you have blood pressure issues. You should have a health check completed by a qualified medical practitioner before starting out on this exercise journey. And, you may want to start off slow, progressively increasing the pace and effort as you feel fitter and more able to, always paying attention to how you feel, and how your heart is reacting to the training. [2]

The 5 Best Exercises to improve your blood pressure

  1. Walkingexercise to improve blood pressure

It is the easiest form of exercise, in terms of slipping on a pair of walking appropriate shoes, gear, and getting going. And if done right, you can drastically improve your quality of life and sort out any blood pressure issues.

Walking has many other benefits that all aid how your heart manages. The calories burnt whilst walking will help you bring the weight down, and having a 30 minute walk every day, also helps with increasing brain power. It is said that dementia can be held off longer if you just ensure you take at least a 6 mile walk a day, that amongst other brain fuelling activities. [3]

  1. Runningrunning

Running takes the exercise up a beat, as it does require more effort and is harder on the muscles and bones, especially the joints.

Again, like with walking, you will burn calories and keep a clear mind for longer, but a regular running routine extends further, with helping you boost confidence, lower blood pressure (this by opening up the arteries and veins for better blood flow), and in turn reducing stress. [4]

  1. Aerobic Classes

aerobics

Aerobic classes at a gym or outdoors adds a new dimension to aerobic style exercise. You get the benefit of raising your heart rate, but also the diversity and anti-boredom aspect, that walking and running can induce.

  1. Other Outdoor Aerobic Sports

Other aerobic sports, generally enjoyed outdoors, can include cycling, swimming, basketball, and tennis.

Swimming, specifically, is a great beginner style sport or training. It is gentle on the body, with no jarring motion or the hitting of foot to tar, and you can really start out as slow as you want, even walking in the water till you are ready to progress further.

Ball sports, such as tennis, basketball, cricket, football, and many others, are great for the aerobic effort, but also the effort it places on the brain. You have to move, energizing the heart, pumping the blood faster and creating a path for good blood pressure; and in addition, you need to exercise the brain more, what with the ball needing to be kept in eye distancework out all the time.

Cross-over type sports that involve a ball and perhaps also a “utensil” such as a racquet or bat, require that you apply your gross motor skills into the equation, always good for getting the brain cells working. [5]

  1. Household Cleaning

This one may not get your juices going at first glance, but if the cleaning must be done, then you may as well put it down to part of your exercise regime. Vacuuming, dusting, polishing, and scrubbing floors, all require some effort and muscle activity.

You will be surprised at how much your heart rate will increase when indulging in the art of house chores. And, it really is an art, because, while you may be making an effort, not everyone can clean expertly. 

But, nevertheless, grab that cloth, pick up the vacuum, and get moving, and if you find your heart rate isn’t picking up too much, try jogging on the spot to just aid the benefit you are giving to your heart strengthening.

References:

  1. Blood Pressure UK.org – Blood pressure and exercise
  2. Mayo Clinic.org – Best Exercises for lowering Blood pressure
  3. Tesco Living – Benefits of Walking
  4. Active.com – Benefits of Running
  5. Higher Fitness.com – Aerobic Classes