The Effect of Exercise on Blood Pressure

health Dec 10, 2021

Exercise is a drug-free approach to lower high blood pressure. Exercising on a regular basis keeps blood pressure low. It takes about one to three months for regular exercise to have an impact on blood pressure. The benefits last only as long as exercise is continued.

Physical exercise increases the blood supply to the brain and brain increases the release of growth factors from skeletal muscles into the bloodstream, facilitating neurogenesis, stimulating angiogenesis, and influencing endothelial cell proliferation and endothelial cell membrane permeability. Physical exercise elevates brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in BP-sensing neurons during hypertension. Enriching BDNF levels reduce BP and lower hypertension risk by physical exercise. Physical exercise results in a significant reduction in BP in people suffering from high BP.

It is true that physical activity (exercise) will cause blood pressure to rise for a short time.
However, when the activity is stopped, blood pressure soon returns to normal.
Normal resting healthy blood pressure is less than 120/80 mm Hg. (systolic/diastolic).  
The first number, 120, represents the systolic pressure, or pressure against the artery walls when the heart contracts.
The lower number, 80, is the diastolic pressure, or pressure against the artery walls when the heart relaxes.
Blood pressure is determined by two factors, how much blood heart pumps per minute (cardiac output), and how much arteries resist blood flow (peripheral resistance). When arteries narrow, peripheral resistance rises. When they widen, peripheral resistance drops.
More cardiac output and greater peripheral resistance result in higher blood pressure.
Regular physical exercise makes the heart stronger. A stronger heart can pump more blood with less effort.
If the heart works less to pump, the force on arteries will decrease. This will lower blood pressure.
To become more active, systolic blood pressure should be lowered. — (the top number in a blood pressure reading — by an average of 4 to 9 millimetres of mm Hg). That's as good as some blood pressure medications. For some people, getting some exercise is enough to reduce the need for blood pressure medication.

Moderate physical exercise performed for 30 to 40 minutes daily can lower resting blood pressure rates and prevent hypertension. Even a slight drop in blood pressure can reduce the risk of death from cardiovascular disease.

During vigorous exercise, systolic blood pressure rises because the heart must work harder to pump more blood with each contraction to supply oxygen to muscles.
The more vigorous the exercise, the greater the rise in systolic pressure. However, diastolic blood pressure changes very little, if at all.
In a young, healthy person, diastolic blood pressure rises by not more than a few mm Hg, even during vigorous exercise. This is because the blood vessels in working muscles widen, decreasing peripheral resistance.

When an aerobic exercise is started, blood pressure increases as the cardiovascular system works to deliver more oxygen and glucose to the working muscles.
A long-term adaptation to aerobic exercise decreases both systolic and diastolic blood pressures during rest and during sub-maximal exercise.
Regular exercise also helps to maintain a healthy weight. It is another important way to control blood pressure.
Risk of high blood pressure (hypertension) increases with age. And if blood pressure is already high, exercise can help control it.

The encouragement of regular exercise is not only useful as a treatment method for individuals with hypertension, but also encouraged as a means for prevention.


A. Sandhya

M.Sc Zoology

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