How much exercise do you need weekly to reduce your risk of high blood pressure?

Written By Mark

Studies indicate that if you want to protect yourself from high blood pressure as you age, you must exercise regularly. According to data, doing 5 hours of moderate-intensity exercise per week may help protect against high blood pressure.

High blood pressure is a serious condition that affects millions of people around the world, as it may lead to many complications, including heart attack or stroke. It is also a risk factor for developing dementia later in life.

Most people who suffer from high blood pressure do not even know that they have it, which is why it is often called the “silent killer.” However, there are ways to overcome high blood pressure, including regular exercise.

Not only does physical exercise help you control high blood pressure, but it may also help you control your weight, strengthen your heart, and reduce your stress level, as the American Heart Association indicates.

However, some social factors can make this more difficult for some people, as teenagers and those in their early twenties enjoy physical activity and free time, which allows them to exercise; However, this may become more complex and difficult with age and increased responsibilities.

One study suggests that maintaining physical activity during adulthood may be particularly important for preventing high blood pressure.

The study was conducted by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) in 2021, and was published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

The study was conducted with the participation of 5,100 adults, tracking their health over 3 decades through some physical tests and questionnaires about their exercise habits.

The results of the study showed a decrease in levels of physical activity from the age of 18 to 40 years, with an increase in rates of high blood pressure.

While the researchers noted that people who exercised moderately intensely for 5 hours a week during early adulthood had a significantly reduced risk of high blood pressure at a later stage, especially if people continued to exercise until the age of sixty.

Guidelines for physical exercise

  • Do at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, 75 minutes per week of vigorous aerobic activity, or a combination of the two, preferably spread throughout the week.
  • Get more benefits by being active for at least 300 minutes (5 hours) per week. Gradually increase the amount and intensity over time.
  • Do moderate to high-intensity muscle-strengthening activity (such as resistance exercises like push-ups or lifting weights) at least two days a week.
  • Spend less time sitting.

What are moderate-intensity aerobic activities?

Aerobic activity (or “cardio”) in general raises your heart rate and benefits your heart by improving cardiorespiratory fitness. In moderate-intensity aerobic activities, your heart rate increases and you breathe more difficultly than usual, but you will still be able to speak, and this is a sign of the quality of these activities.

Examples of moderate-intensity aerobic activities:

  • Brisk walking.
  • Water aerobics.
  • Working in the gardens.

What are high-intensity aerobic activities?

These high-intensity activities push your body to the limits a little further, as they require more effort when doing them, and during them you will likely feel warm and start sweating, and you will not be able to talk much without feeling short of breath.

Examples of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity

  • Hiking long and uphill distances or with a heavy backpack.
  • Running.
  • Swimming.
  • Heavy yard work such as constant digging.
  • Jumping rope.

Some other benefits of regular exercise

  • Reduced risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, dementia, Alzheimer’s, and many types of cancer.
  • Get better sleep, including significant improvement in sleep disorders such as insomnia and obstructive sleep apnea.
  • Improve cognition, including memory and attention.
  • Reduce weight.
  • Improve bone health.
  • Reducing the risk of falling.