High blood pressure, or hypertension, is one of the leading causes of premature death in North America. It can put a constant strain on a heart and weaken arteries. High blood pressure can also loosen deposits of fatty plaque on the arterial walls.
If a piece of this debris becomes lodged in a coronary artery that?s been narrowed by atherosclerosis, it can cause a heart attack. Similarly, a blockage in an artery that leads to the brain can result in a stroke. Fortunately, high blood pressure is almost always controllable.
The Exercise Link
One of the best ways to control high blood pressure is regular physical exercise. Active people tend to have lower blood pressure because exercise strengthens their cardiovascular system. Aerobic exercises, such as walking, bicycling, playing volleyball, swimming, jogging, dancing, or hiking, have long been linked with lowering high blood pressure.
Weights Work Too
Even a moderate program of weight training has been shown to be helpful for hypertensive people. Even though the effort of lifting weights may cause blood pressure to rise slightly, if done correctly, weight training does not increase blood pressure to dangerous levels.
The best weight training program for hypertensive people is lifting light-to-moderate weights using a number of different machines and moving quickly from one to the other. One study showed that such a program combined only with aerobic exercise had the same benefits as aerobic exercise combined with anti-hypertensive drugs. The drugs offered no added benefit to those patients who trained regularly with weights. Several other studies have backed up the benefits of weight training for hypertensive men, women, and children.
You Have All the Weapons You Need…
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Steady wins the race