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Bodybuilding and Cardiovascular Health

I recently did a measure of my blood pressure and as I had naggingly suspected weeks before, it was high. Not ridiculously high but significantly beyond optimal levels, possibly warranting medication. Years ago, I used to have extreme hyperthyroid activity which calmed down since and I’ve somewhat naively taken that to mean that blood pressure should not be a huge issue since I’m not that fat or heavy. Probably under 200 now.

Yet, I’ve recently been serious about lifting again and ever since I got on that track years ago, I developed a distaste of cardio like so many people. I place part of the blame on strength gurus who warn about cardio reducing their lifting numbers and the touting of anaerobic exercise for health, never mind the fact that it is only aerobic exercise that is recommended for cardiovascular health.

I also remember reading about people who, in their own estimates, became too muscular for their heart (220+ at average’ish height) and speculations about how excess muscle can actually tax the heart more than excess fat, due to the properties of muscle needing extra vascularization/blood relative to fat.

This is not an anti-bodybuilding/powerlifting post but it makes you think? Now I’m definitely going to improve and increase my cardio and get an appointment, as I perhaps should have done long ago.

When I lift, or more specifically, when I’m done with a workout, I feel powerful but after a run or a long walk, I feel a refreshing sense of calm which lifting does not bring.

Too many factors in high blood pressure to pin the tail on just one donkey. If running help you feel better though, then by all means, run.

I think that if you don’t work in some form of cardio a few times a week, you aren’t working to stave off catabolism so much as you are being lazy.

NTTAWWT, just keeping it real.

Buy a dog. Walk daily.

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I suppose you measured your BP using some kind of device and not with a stethoscope. These devices aren’t very accurate.
Keep track of your BP for a while (multiple measurements) and make sure you hold your elbow at heart-height while measuring. Holding it lower than your heart increases BP (gravity).
Circumstances influence BP.

Yes, EXCESS physical activity can have a negative effect on the heart but it is unlikely. I doubt this is a problem at 200lbs.
Lifting is associated with concentric heart hypertrophy due to pressure overload, cardiovascular activity with eccentric heart hypertrophy due to volume overload. Both CAN be a problem, but eccentric hypertrophy is preferable.
Do some cardio, walk if you have to. And if you’re scared of losing 0,1 lbs of weight, simply eat a bit more.

Also, what about your diet? If you can, reduce your cholesterol and fat intake (but increase omega 3 FA intake). Don’t believe any of the recent articles on this site about fats & cholesterol. This site is a great resource for BB info, but is borderline dangerous for health info.

And obviously no smoking / excess alcohol.

After taking these steps and your BP is still high, go to a doctor.

[quote]bushidobadboy wrote:
How soon after lifting/exercise did you measure your BP?

Any stimulant intake prior to measuring BP?

A good nights’ sleep, prior to measuring BP?

All these things play a part in possible ‘elevated’ BP measurments.


Appendix 1.

Is the cuff big enough for your arm?

Was your arm as high as your heart when measuring?

Were you sitting/lying still for a few minutes before measuring?

Do you have any experience measuring blood pressure?

Did you try measuring while lying down?

How high a reading did you get?

And my last and only joking question is: Are you a doctor? Cause if you are, it could be white coat hypertension.

Wow lol good luck with the responses OP.


Are you a Type A personality, or a high-strung, high-stress individual?

I’m not sure of the science behind it, but I’d bet that those traits have far more an influence on BP and cholesterol levels than almost anything else.