Exercise as it relates to Disease/Optimal Physical Activity for the Reduction of Hypertension

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What is Hypertension?
Hypertension can also be referred to as high blood pressure. This condition is simply a greater amount of pressure in the arteries which causes an increased work load for the heart each time it pumps. Long term hypertension could lead to heart attack (heart failure), stroke and many other conditions that could lead to premature death.

What Causes Hypertension?
Genetics has a big role to play in blood pressure, although there are many factors that can lead to hypertension or the increased risk of hypertension. These factors include:

  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Increased sodium (salt) intake
  • Sedentary Lifestyle
  • Stress
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Smoking
  • And many more.

What are the Symptoms of Hypertension?
There are not always symptoms for those people with moderate to low high blood pressure. Although if you have extreme hypertension then you may experience symptoms like:

  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Irregular Heart beat

Physical Activity and Hypertension
As can be seen from the causes of this condition, obesity and being sedentary are two main sources for increasing blood pressure. Physical activity on the other hand, is highly likely to reduce body weight and will also reduce the amount of sedentary behaviour of a person. Therefore, physical activity may be a better long term treatment for this condition that any medication. It has been proven that endurance training results in a decrease in Blood pressure[1]< and some studies have also suggested that weights training may also induce a decrease in blood pressure. So where from here?

Physical Activity Recommendations
If you were to undergo a weights training program, there would be a reduction in blood pressure slightly, although once you stop that weights program, there is evidence that your blood pressure would then return back to its original level. Rhythmic or dynamic movement such as walking or swimming seems to reduce Hypertension the quickest with a higher chance of maintaining this blood pressure. A study conducted in Canada found that moderate intensity (leisurely) dynamic exercise, done for 40-60 at a time and conducted 3-4 times a week is the fasted way to decrease blood pressure for those people who have mild hypertension.[2] Vigorous exercise will still reduce blood pressure, such as a weights program although it is not going to produce as fast results. This study also found that the lower the initial level of physical activity the greater expectation to the reduction in blood pressure. Although these are the optimal level of physical activity for reducing blood pressure, any exercise or physical activity are far better than none at all.

Also Read:
Peter Crosta M.A.. (2009, May 15). "What Is Hypertension? What Causes Hypertension?."Medical News Today. Retrieved from: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/150109.php


  1. Ehsani, A. Goldring, D. Hagberg, J. Hernandez, A. Holloszy, J. Sincore, D. 2007. “Effect of weight training on blood pressure and hemodynamics in hypertensive adolescents” St Louis, USA.
  2. Cleroux, J. Feldman, R. Petrella, R. (1999) “Recommendations on physical exercise training.” Canadian Medical Association pp21-28.