Your client has high blood pressure. Understandably, they are concerned about the effect of physical activity on their blood pressure.
So, how can you, as an A Fitness and health specialistMake sure they are exercising in the safest way possible? How do you design a ‘blood pressure friendly’ exercise plan?
Below, we cover what you need to know about training a client with high blood pressure, including the ins and outs of the chronic condition and the best exercises that can help return a client’s blood pressure to healthy levels.
What is high blood pressure?
As its name suggests, “blood pressure” refers to the pressure within the arteries, the blood vessels that carry oxygen-rich blood from the heart to the rest of the body. blood pressure reading It consists of two digits:
- Systolic blood pressure (top number): It is the pressure in the blood vessels when the heart contracts to push blood into the arteries throughout the body.
- Diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number): Represents the pressure in the blood vessels when the heart relaxes between beats; When filled and relaxed.
High blood pressure (ie, high blood pressure) is defined as anything over 140/90 mmHg.
Unfortunately, the health consequences of high blood pressure It can be awesome—especially when left unmanaged.
More specifically, high blood pressure increases the risk of several serious side effects such as aneurysms, heart attacks, kidney problems, dementia, metabolic syndrome, and early death.
Fortunately, your client is not helpless in his battle against this condition.
Lifestyle changes such as getting enough sleep at night, monitoring their sodium intake, and reducing indulging in alcohol are just some of the things that can help your client lower their blood pressure. Oh, and then there’s the exercise.
take this Study 2013for example.
Researchers found that sedentary older adults who participated in aerobic exercise lowered their blood pressure by an average of 3.9% for systolic pressure and 4.5% for diastolic — results similar to some blood pressure medications.
How does exercise affect blood pressure?
Wait a minute. Does exercise increase blood pressure? Well, it is, but only temporarily.
In fact, all physical activity increases blood pressure.
That’s because muscles now need more oxygen than they do at rest – which means the heart will have to force more and faster to circulate blood, so it meets this increased demand. As a result, systolic blood pressure rises.
Normal systolic blood pressure It rises between 160 and 220 mmHg during exercise. But blood pressure should return to an individual’s “baseline” levels within several hours of exercise.
However, the most important thing here is that regular physical activity is an integral part of long-term blood pressure control.
There are two primary mechanisms by which exercise can help lower a client’s blood pressure levels:
- Promotes weight loss: If your customer is overweight, help them Achieving an ideal body weight It is one of the most effective lifestyle changes for controlling blood pressure. By increasing the number of calories a client burns per day, regular exercise can help them better stick to their calorie deficit, Enabling weight loss. in general, Research It indicates that your client may experience a 1 mmHg drop in blood pressure with every 2.2 pounds of weight lost.
- Improves cardiovascular health: Exercise improves arteriosclerosis. This, in turn, increases the volume of oxygen-rich blood that each contraction of the heart brings to the rest of the body, essentially reducing the “workload” of the cardiovascular system. Because the heart no longer needs to pump with the same force or speed to meet the oxygen requirement, blood pressure drops over time.
Precautions for exercising with high blood pressure
Although exercise can lower blood pressure, it is worth noting that not all forms of physical activity are suitable for clients with high blood pressure.
By starting with a blood pressure level higher than normal while at rest, your client is at an increased risk of systolic blood pressure rising above 220 mmHg when exercising – increasing the likelihood of having a stroke.
So, how do you get around this? Answer: by Control the intensity of the exercise.
In general, you should avoid making a client with high blood pressure do any high intensity exercise. This is because high-intensity exercise can quickly raise a client’s blood pressure and put severe stress on the heart and blood vessels. Examples of high-intensity activities include sprinting, weightlifting, plyometrics, and all forms of HIIT training (ie where they’re supposed to go “holistic” for a certain amount of time).
Instead, you should get your client to do moderate activity. A good way to gauge your customer’s level of effort is what is called a ‘talk test’.
If your client is doing a moderate-intensity activity, they can talk but cannot sing during the activity. On the other hand, cross into the “zone” of high-intensity activity, and your client won’t be able to utter more than a few words without pausing for breath.
You should also require your client to obtain clearance from their primary health care providers before beginning an exercise program.
Some medications, including those for high blood pressure, can affect your heart rate and your body’s response to exercise. Therefore, it is always best to play it safe.
Best exercises to lower blood pressure
So, now you know that moderate physical activity is best for your client. But what kind exactly? Here are six of the most research-backed exercise methods that have been shown to be effective in lowering blood pressure.
Although it is often thought of as an “inferior” form of exercise, the truth is that brisk walking provides a lot of health benefits.
Of course, the most relevant to this article: the The Framingham Heart Study It suggests that your client can lower their systolic blood pressure by 0.45 points for every 1,000 steps they take daily. a Study 2013 Published in the Journal of Atherosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology supports this.
The researchers found that those who took part in brisk walking regularly had a 7.2% lower risk of high blood pressure, a 7% lower risk of high cholesterol, and a 12.3% lower risk of diabetes.
In addition to helping to control blood pressure in the long term, brisk walking can also help improve a client’s mood. a Study 2018 I found that just ten minutes of walking is all it takes to lift someone’s spirits.
However, the key word here is “fast”.
As a general rule, in order for a customer to walk fast, he will need to move quickly About three miles per hour. prepare file fitness tracker. But if they don’t have an app, they can always download a walking app, such as “Fitbit Mobile Track”, “Google Fit” or “Strava”.
Like brisk walking, swimming is also a good type of low-impact cardiovascular exercise that is accessible to most people and can be particularly beneficial for those with joint problems.
But what about its effect on blood pressure?
so is this Study 2012 Published in the American Journal of Cardiology found that swimming helped reduce systolic blood pressure by an average of nine points in participants who swam three or four times per week over a twelve-week period.
Even better, hydrostatic pressure (ie the force a fluid exerts on an object) on a client’s body while swimming has also been suggested to help improve circulation.
And the cherry on top?
By promoting a sense of relaxation, swimming can help lower a client’s stress levels, in turn Lowering their blood pressure levels.
Another suitable exercise for a client with high blood pressure? Cycling.
Look no further than this 2017 study Published in Clinical & Diagnostic Research to prove it. It found that participants who engaged in cycling exercises over a six-month period saw a significant improvement in their blood pressure levels.
Similarly, a 2016 study Published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, it was found that adults (in their 40s to 60s) who cycled to work were less likely than those who did not suffer from obesity, high cholesterol, prediabetes, and high blood pressure.
by the way: Your customer does not need to subject themselves to the unexpected road conditions associated with outdoor cycling to reap the health benefits.
Indoor cycling—which can be achieved via home gym equipment or a workout session at the gym—is also a viable option, especially for customers who work 9-5 hour jobs and don’t have any daylight to sneak in on a ride.
First, a little context: Tai Chi is an ancient Chinese martial arts tradition (developed in the 13th century) that is widely adopted today as a low-impact method of exercise.
Watch your tai chi move and you’ll notice that its movements are done slowly, accompanied by deep breathing.
looks familiar? Yes, just like swimming, tai chi can stimulate a client’s sympathetic nervous system, thereby lowering stress levels, and thus blood pressure.
But wait. Where is the evidence?
at Study 2003 Published in the Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine, researchers found that 12 weeks of tai chi training resulted in a significant decrease in blood pressure (15.6 mmHg decrease in systolic blood pressure; 8.8 mmHg decrease in diastolic blood pressure).
Yoga, like tai chi, is a unique form of exercise that combines the conscious benefits of meditation and physical activity, which means you can be sure it will lower your blood pressure, too.
The search agrees. this is Study 2003 It found that participants over the age of forty who practiced yoga for five years had lower blood pressure and pulse rate compared to those who did not.
More convincingly, a Study 2011 Published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, it found twelve weeks of yoga practice to produce clinically meaningful improvements in 24-hour systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure in untreated participants for their slightly elevated blood pressure.
Ah, finally, who can forget resistance training?
Impressively, a 2016 review The publication in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that resistance exercise can help lower systolic blood pressure by about 4.1 mm Hg. For reference: It is known that lowering blood pressure by up to 2 mmHg can help reduce deaths from stroke by about 10% and deaths from heart disease by about 7%.
However, there are a few things you should keep in mind when strength training a client with hypertension:
- Pregnancy: Use a weight that is challenging but manageable (choose a load where they can complete 10 to 15 reps per work set). A very heavy load may cause the client’s blood pressure to rise.
- Teach proper breathing techniques: Have them breathe in in the eccentric phase, then exhale in the concentric phase. Getting them to perform the Valsalva maneuver is unacceptable, as it is It can significantly raise blood pressure.
If you work with clients with high blood pressure, it is important that you share how they can train usefully and safely. Always be aware of the risks involved and encourage your customers to prioritize their health and safety.
For most people, getting started with more movement each day is a good step forward – whether it’s at work or at home. This relieves them to increased activity levels (Higher levels of NEAT) while avoiding high-intensity workouts that expose them to greater risks.