If you have high blood pressure, it doesn’t have to stop you from exercising…… This condition can be reversed with healthy nutrition and exercise.
a. If your blood pressure is normal (less than 120/80), get it checked at least every 2 years or more frequently as your doctor suggests.
b. If your blood pressure is borderline high — systolic blood pressure between 120 and 139 or diastolic blood pressure of 80 to 89 — check it at least every year or more often as your doctor suggests.
c. If your blood pressure is 140/90 or higher, talk with your doctor as this is high blood pressure and requires a doctor’s attention.
As a personal trainer, I must consider a client as hypertensive if the client is taking medication to control high blood pressure. Before a trainer will train you, your doctor would have to clear you for an exercise program.
High blood pressure usually has no symptoms, but it can cause serious problems such as stroke, heart failure, heart attack and kidney failure.
You can control high blood pressure through exercise, healthy eating and medication (if needed). I have seen cases where exercise and healthy eating made medication unnecessary after a period of time.
If you have high blood pressure, you can follow a pretty regular exercise routine. But, you do need to take some precautions. Here are 7 tips:
1) Do your resistance exercises in a seated or standing position to avoid dizziness.
2) Breathe during exercises. This seems like a no-brainer, but I constantly remind clients to breathe properly.
3) If you are feeling light-headed, etc. before a workout, it is safe to check your blood pressure.
4) Don’t over-grip when lifting weights and do not clench your fists while running or exercising.
5) Progress the intensity of your cardio exercise when clearance from your doctor is given.
6) Always pay attention to “your heart-rate response” to certain exercises. Every one is unique and there is no one-size-fits-all formula for exercise.
7) If you exercise in the heat, stop exercising if you feel sick, have chills, headache, severe muscle burning or aching, dizziness or blurred vision. If your symptoms don’t subside in a few minutes, you could be headed for a heat stroke that can kill you! Exercise in heat lasting more than 1 hour can cause fatigue, dehydration, muscle weakness/cramps and decreased coordination. This is caused by low levels of fluids, salt or glycogen (fuel from carbohydrate calories).
Keep your fluids, salt and glycogen levels adequate before and during exercise because it is often too late once the symptoms show up. Endurance events such as 5K runs, 10K runs and marathons require your heart to efficiently pump oxygen in your bloodstream from your lungs into your muscles.
A study from the University of Connecticut shows that with dehydration, your heart beats with far less force, so it pumps far less blood with each beat. Therefore, an inadequate amount of oxygen reaches your muscles. Don’t depend on thirst to tell you when you lack fluids. When you are going to exercise for more than 1 hour, especially in hot weather, drink small amounts of water frequently and eat salted snacks or consume a sports drink.
Remember, fitness is a lifestyle choice and should be a permanent commitment for you. Don’t rush the results when your health is at stake!
“Exercise is not my life…..exercise makes my life better!”
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