High blood pressure: The best exercise to do during lockdown to lower your reading
High blood pressure isn’t a good thing to have. How can you lower yours? With exercise. But what’s the best activity to do during lockdown?
A sphygmomanometer is a digital electronic monitor – connected to an inflatable cuff that wraps around the upper arm – that measures blood pressure.
Readings appear as two numbers, with the first number representing blood pressure at its highest (systolic pressure).
This is when the heart is beating, pumping blood through the arteries.
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And the second reading represents the lowest blood pressure (diastolic pressure).
This is when the heart muscle relaxes between beats.
Healthy blood pressure is a reading higher than 90/60mmHg and lower than 140/90mmHg.
High blood pressure (hypertension) is suspected when a reading is between 140/90mmHg and over.
The British Heart Foundation (BHF) states that “being more active” can help lower blood pressure.
It’s important to keep your blood pressure in check, otherwise arteries can become damaged from the sheer force of blood thumping away.
And this can lead to heart disease, heart attacks, heart failure, strokes, aortic aneurysms – the list goes on.
To say the condition is dangerous is an understatement.
Celebrity personal trainer Scott Parker said: “Something like a simple 30 to 35 minute bike ride can get your heart pumping, could get you outside, and could boost your cardiovascular health in a fun way.”
One study, cited in the journal Circulation, looked at 45,000 Danish adults aged between 50 and 65.
The participants biked as part of their day-to-day routines for both recreation and commuting.
After 20 years of follow-up, the researchers found that cyclists had up to 18 percent fewer heart attacks than those who didn’t ride a bike.
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Another study, cited in the Journal of the American Heart Association, also looked at the link between cycling and hypertension.
The findings found that 20,000 Swedish adults in their 40s to 60s, who biked to work, had significant health benefits.
For instance, the bikers were less likely to be obese, have high cholesterol or high blood pressure compared to those who didn’t ride a bike.
They were followed for 10 years, and were found to be 13 percent less likely to have high blood pressure compared to others.
Other ways to help lower blood pressure readings is to eat less salt.
The BHF recommends: “Don’t cook with salt or add any to your food at the table.
“And cut down on processed foods, which contain a lot of salt.”
Salt is hidden away in products such as soy sauce, stock cubes and fish sauce.
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