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Hypertension and Exercise

Read more about Exercise.

Overview

Lack of exercise is a risk factor for the development of hypertension. Consequently, regular exercise is an excellent way to prevent and treat hypertension. Exercise might also help you lose weight. Losing as little as 10 pounds can help decrease your heart’s workload and lower your blood pressure.

Effect of Exercise on Hypertension

Regular exercise can help prevent and treat hypertension.

How to Use Exercise

To offer you the full range of benefits, your exercise program should include the major categories of exercise--aerobic (cardiovascular exercise), strength training (resistance exercises), and flexibility (stretching exercise). Within all of these major categories of exercise, there are a number of different options. See the Exercise article for more information and tips on starting a regular exercise program.

Types of Professionals That Would Be Involved with This Treatment

In addition to consulting with your doctor, consider making an appointment with a certified athletic trainer to help you develop a safe, effective, and enjoyable exercise program. You can find a trainer at a local gym or through a referral from your doctor or a friend. Make sure this person understands your goals and health condition and can help you maintain an exercise program that you will enjoy and stick with.

If you are looking for other forms of movement, consider consulting someone like a yoga therapist, qi gong or tai chi instructor.

Side Effects and Warnings

It is important to pick a type of exercise and durations that are compatible with your physical health. If you have a serious health condition, consult with your physician before starting an exercise program.

A health condition or injury may prevent you from engaging in certain types of exercise such as jogging or bike riding but walking. Gentler forms of movement such as stretching or yoga may still be safe and beneficial options.

References

American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine website. Available at: http://www.sportsmed.org/tabs/Index.aspx . Accessed September 4, 2008.

Exercise: how to get started. American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: http://www.aafp.org/afp/20061215/2095ph.html . Published December 2006. Accessed September 4, 2008.

Health and fitness tips. American Council on Exercise website. Available at: http://www.acefitness.org/healthandfitnesstips/default.aspx . Accessed September 4, 2008.

Mayo Clinic. Stretching: focus on flexibility. Mayo Clinic website. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/stretching/hq01447. Updated February 21, 2010. Accessed May 18, 2010.

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