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How Does Exercise Improve Blood Pressure?

What is Blood Pressure?


Blood pressure refers to the maximal and minimal pressure in your brachial artery. Blood pressure consists of a higher and lower number. The higher number is the maximal pressure in the brachial artery during contraction known as systole. The lower number is the minimal pressure in the brachial artery during relaxation known as diastole. Optimal blood pressure is lower than 120/80mmHg. Hypertension is the term used to describe high blood pressure. There are 3 grades of hypertension explained below.

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Benefits of Exercise


Exercise reduces the arterial wall stiffness which results in reduced blood pressure. On average exercise can reduce blood pressure by approximately 6-7mmHg. Additionally, exercise makes the heart stronger and more efficient at pumping blood around the body. Exercise can also reduce the risk of developing other chronic conditions such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol.


What Type of Exercise is Best?


Both aerobic and resistance (strength) exercise training is recommended to provide optimal benefits in regards to blood pressure. The intensity, frequency and duration of exercise is detailed in the table below.

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