High blood pressure is a common condition in the UK, with more than one in four people living with it, although many people will not realise it. Symptoms tend to not reveal themselves until it is serious. luckily. blood pressure readings can be reduced by overhauling one’s diet and cutting out those culprits known to cause a spike. Exercise can also play a role.
As Dr Norton of VavistaLife explained: “High blood pressure is a sign of ‘hardening’ and narrowing of the arteries – which can occur as a result of smoking and poor diet, high in processed fats and sugar amongst other things.
“Aside from tackling those issues, exercise can help you to keep a healthy bloody pressure – in fact some studies show that it can work as well as medication.”
According to Luke Hughes, CEO of personal trainer practice Origym, the tried-and-tested way to reduce a soaring reading is circuit training.
As Hughes explained, circuit training that involves the upper-body, lower-body, and core will improve circulation to multiple areas of the body and prevent the blood from localising in one area.
“You can do it at home or at the gym, and create a circuit routine consisting of planks, burpees, sprints, squats, mountain climbers, bicycle crunches, push-ups and lunges, and make it as high or low impact as you wish with different rest periods,” explained Hughes.
If circuit training is too high impact your current condition, Hughes advises opting for a a brisk walk for at least 30 minutes per day (which totals 150 minutes, the recommended amount of exercise per week over five days).
The nervous system plays an important role in the regulation of blood pressure
Luke Hughes, CEO of Origym
Dr Sally Norton echoes Hugh’s advice: “HIITs exercises are a great way of pushing you and your circulation hard, and then relaxing, which helps you and your blood vessels to stay supple and your blood pressure to keep in a healthy range.
“Even just standing and walking around throughout the day rather than being sedentary can help. And some studies have shown that breaking up exercise into smaller chunks done more often is better than a gym blitz and then putting your feet up for the next two days.”
She added: “HIITs exercises are a great way of pushing you and your circulation hard, and then relaxing, which helps you and your blood vessels to stay supple and your blood pressure to keep in a healthy range.”
Yoga is also an effective way to reduce a high reading, added Hughes.
“The downward-facing dog pose is a good one to try, as it has been proven to relieve the brain of stress and strengthen both
the upper and lower body with regular practice.”
He also recommends trying out the paschimottanasana pose (the seated forward bend): “When you perform this pose, spaces are created between the vertebras in the spinal cord, causing an increase in circulation to the nerves.
“The nervous system plays an important role in the regulation of blood pressure, so this could be invaluable for you and your health.”
Above all, according to Doctor Norton, the key is to find an exercise you enjoy.
“Any exercise can help blood pressure – but only if you do it regularly so find something you enjoy,” she said.
A healthy balanced diet should accompany an active lifestyle. According to the NHS, cut down on the amount of salt in your food and eat plenty of fruit and vegetables.
“Salt raises your blood pressure. The more salt you eat, the higher your blood pressure.
“Aim to eat less than 6g (0.2oz) of salt a day, which is about a teaspoonful,” the health body advises.
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