Morning Live: Gethin Jones and Luba Mushtuk perform exercises
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Cycling is one of the most helpful exercises you can do to help reduce high blood pressure, heart surgeon Dr Larry Creswell confirmed. The enjoyable activity can reduce blood pressure readings up to 10mmHg, he said. “Being active lowers your blood pressure by keeping your heart and blood vessels in good shape,” said the charity Blood Pressure UK. Other benefits include stronger bones, improved balance, and a better mood.
However, cycling isn’t the only helpful exercise when it comes to bringing down those numbers.
Activities that can benefit your health include brisk walking, swimming, dancing, gardening, tennis and jogging.
The main thing all these activities have in common is that they’re considered “aerobic” exercises.
These types of rhythmic movements get the heart muscle, blood vessels and muscles working – i.e. cardiovascular conditioning.
The Cleveland Clinic explained that aerobic means “with oxygen”, which means that “breathing controls the amount of oxygen that can make it to the muscles to help them burn fuel and move”.
It’s recommended to do 30 minutes of daily aerobic exercise, five to seven times per week.
“Don’t forget warm-up, cool-down and stretching exercises in your aerobic exercise session,” the Cleveland Clinic added.
As well as helping to lower blood pressure, aerobic exercise assists in weight loss, helps control blood sugar levels and lowers the risk of heart disease.
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All these factors can help increase a person’s lifespan, so it’s well worth getting into the habit of daily exercise.
Aerobic exercise can also increase good cholesterol and improve lung function.
Other examples of aerobic exercise include rowing, an elliptical trainer, and jumping rope.
However, not all movement could be helpful in lowering blood pressure readings.
For instance, Blood Pressure UK advises against playing squash if you want to reduce your numbers.
Other unhelpful actives include skydiving, sprinting, and scuba diving – you must talk to your GP before doing any of these activities if you have high blood pressure.
“If you have mobility problems or find it difficult to get out and about, then chair-based exercises can be great way to be active,” said Blood Pressure UK.
Ideal for people with arthritis or osteoporosis, chair-based activities can improve strength, flexibility and reduce blood pressure.
You can find a local chair-based class online or by asking your GP.; there are also online videos that you could follow from home.
Why lowering blood pressure matters?
High blood pressure puts unnecessary strain on the heart muscle and arteries, which can be damaging.
It can lead to blood vessels in the brain clogging more easily, or bursting under pressure, otherwise known as a stroke.
When the heart muscle is overworked, it can enlarge in size, which prevents it from effectively supplying blood to the body (i.e. heart failure).
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