Lowering high blood pressure can be a benefit of regular exercise. A sedentary (inactive) lifestyle is one of the top risk factors for heart disease. Fortunately, it's a risk factor that you can do something about. It can also:
Strengthen your heart and cardiovascular system.
Improve circulation and help the body use oxygen better.
Improve heart failure symptoms.
Increase energy levels so you can do more activities without becoming tired or short of breath.
Improve muscle tone and strength.
Improve balance and joint flexibility.
Help reduce body fat and help you reach a healthy weight.
Help reduce stress, tension, anxiety, and depression.
Always check with your doctor first before starting an exercise program. Your doctor can help you find a program that matches your level of fitness and physical condition. Here are some questions to ask:
How much exercise can I do each day?
How often can I exercise each week?
What type of exercise should I do?
What type of activities should I avoid?
Should I take my medication(s) at a certain time around my exercise schedule?
Do I need to take my pulse while exercising?
What Type of Exercise Is Best?
Exercise can be divided into three basic types:
Stretching or the slow lengthening of the muscles. Stretching the arms and legs before and after exercising can help prepare the muscles for activity and helps prevent injury and muscle strain. Regular stretching may also increase your range of motion and flexibility.
Cardiovascular or aerobic exercise is steady physical activity using large muscle groups. This type of exercise strengthens the heart and lungs and improves the body's ability to use oxygen. Aerobic exercise has the most benefits for your heart. Over time, aerobic exercise can help decrease your heart rate and blood pressure and improve your breathing.
Strengthening exercises are repeated muscle contractions (tightening) until the muscle becomes tired.
What Are Examples of Aerobic Exercises?
Aerobic exercises include: walking, jogging, jumping rope, bicycling (stationary or outdoor), cross-country skiing, skating, rowing, high or low-impact aerobics, swimming, and water aerobics.
How Often Should I Exercise?
In general, to achieve maximum benefits, you should gradually work up to an aerobic session lasting at least 20 to 30 minutes, at least three to four times a week. Exercising at least every other day will help you keep a regular aerobic exercise schedule.