Your doctor probably told you to exercise to cut your high blood pressure. If you're just starting out, it really doesn't matter what exercise you do. Establishing the habit of getting out to exercise is much more important.
But, once you got there, what will work best? What exercises are going to give you the biggest bang for your exercising buck? What's going to help your heart the most?
This might be a little bit of a trick question because there really isn't a best exercise. Whatever you do to increase your heart rate is going to benefit you. We will go over four main categories of exercise and talk about how it will benefit you and your high blood pressure.
From there, you can choose what works best to keep you entertained, healthy, and working out.
Top of the list, cardio is excellent for your heart. It helps keep it strong, moves the blood around your body, and builds muscle.
Dozens of different types of exercise fall into this category including:
- Brisk walking
- Jogging or jogging in place
- Bear crawls
- Water aerobics
The main key of cardio is raising your heart rate about 50% over your resting heartrate for at least 20 minutes. You should do this three times a week according to most doctor's recommendation.
This is where it's really important to choose what you enjoy the most. Do you like running? Or is it something that is horrible to even think about.
If that's the case, maybe you'll choose racquetball or a structured aerobics class like Zumba.
Whatever exercise you get into come make sure you enjoy it and it's something that you can keep up to make your heart healthy.
Stretching isn't an exercise, precisely. But, it can greatly increase the ability of your muscles to work harder and be stronger, to be ready for other exercises.
Although, it also is a type of workout in itself. It's not something that's going to raise your heart rate, but it does increase the blood flow through your body. Ideally, you should stretch before every exercise session. Many people find it beneficial to stretch first thing in the morning to get ready for the day.
Once your muscles are nice and warmed up, strength training helps build healthy muscle tissue. This is where you go after the weights and bands.
Strength training does more than just build muscle. They can help increase bone mass, improve your balance, and reduce pain over the long-term.
In between your cardio days, intersperse some strength training. That way your heart gets a good exercise and your arms and legs get another. And, don't forget your core. If you want to avoid back problems later in life keep a strong core. Yes, we know that means sit ups, crunches, obliques, and planks. They're not the most fun exercise, but they're incredibly beneficial.
Meditative exercise are things like yoga and Tai Chi. They're designed to incorporate mental exercises with physical exercises. Unfortunately, in many places in the US, yoga and Tai Chi have become programs without the meditation.
Even in this case, yoga and Tai Chi are beneficial. They can help you build muscle tone, flexibility, and balance. A part of your regular exercise routine, including one or two days of meditative exercises can keep you in the habit of exercising and improve your flexibility.
We know this wasn't an exact routine or exercise you should be doing. Exercise is very unique to the person, working with what you enjoy and are able to do.
If you need to start exercising, just pick something you enjoy. Pick something you'll be able to stick with in the long term and get into the habit of exercising. From there, you can add in the cardio and strength training to round out your routine and get your blood pressure under control.