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10 Best Exercises for High Blood Pressure | Tips for Managing Hypertension

Dr. Ajay KohliMay 13, 2024

Hypertension or High Blood Pressure is a major risk factor for developing diseases such as Stroke and Coronary Artery Disease, Heart Failure, and Chronic Kidney Disease. By adopting a few lifestyle modifications, one can keep a check on their blood pressure level.

Having a regular exercise routine is a simple and effective way of achieving and maintaining optimum blood pressure. Read ahead to know 10 exercises for High Blood Pressure patients.




Relation between exercising and High Blood Pressure

Exercising helps to maintain lower blood pressure by keeping your heart and blood vessels in good health, thus decreasing chances of having a heart disease and stroke. Moreover, for overweight people, shedding a few kilos will help them reduce their blood pressure as well. Apart from these benefits, exercising regularly strengthens the bones and improves balance. It keeps your muscles and joints in moving condition, keeping you active and independent for later stages of life. Also, exercises uplift your mood and improve cognitive ability.

If you lead a sedentary life, you are invariably inviting trouble upon your heart. Poor lifestyle habits such as a lack of exercise leads to an increased risk of High Blood Pressure (hypertension), which in-turn can affect your heart. It takes about one to three months of regular exercise to help regulate your blood pressure. However, the results last for as long as you continue to exercise. 

10 best exercises to help you lower your blood pressure

The best recommended exercises that can lower High Blood Pressure significantly are discussed below.

  1. Brisk walking: You should walk at a pace faster than you normally do so that it increases your heart and breathing rate. By setting a lively yet comfortable pace, you invigorate your heart and lungs and set the stage for healthier blood pressure. This low-impact exercise is perfect for beginners and can be easily incorporated into your daily routine.

  2. Aerobic classes: It is a good idea to join classes for either Zumba, Aqua aerobics, or a functional fitness class. Opting for Zumba, Aqua Aerobics, or a functional fitness class elevates your heart rate and brings a wave of joy and community. These classes are fantastic for building endurance, improving heart health, and significantly lowering blood pressure.

  3. Running or jogging: Regular running or jogging at a good pace is beneficial for your heart’s health, which affects blood pressure levels. To begin with, you can start off by covering shorter distances at slower speeds and slowly, increase it to longer distances with greater speed. One can alternate running or jogging with brisk walking too.

  4. Cycling: Riding your bike can be considered an active form of exercise if it is done for 10 minutes continuously and with active pedalling motions. The active pedalling motion engages your legs, heart, and lungs, fostering a powerful synergy that works to lower your blood pressure. It's an exercise that offers the freedom to set your own pace and intensity, making it suitable for people of all fitness levels.

  5. Gardening: Working in your garden or around your backyard such as mowing the lawn or raking leaves, adds up to an active form of exercise as it requires motions like picking, bending, etc. However, you need to continue this work for a good 30 to 45 minutes.

  6. Dancing: Dancing amounts to a very efficient form of exercise if you have the passion for it. Joining a dance class like a Zumba class offers a good workout. Any form of dancing will count as an exercise if it involves total body movement and accelerates the heart rate.

  7. Hiking: Hiking can be a very strenuous exercise. It is best to remain on a beginner’s trial at first if you are new to hiking. Once you gain experience, you can work your way up more difficult routes.

  8. Swimming: Swimming is considered a very good form of exercise. Mostly as beginners, you may be familiar with freestyle strokes. Aqua jogging is another option for someone getting used to exercising in the pool. Using aids such as an aqua jogging belt or pool noodle adds extra buoyancy.

  9. Yoga: This is an age-old form of exercise which can help reduce blood pressure. However, you should consult a doctor before starting yoga as some poses require you to bend your back, adopt an inversion position or standing postures, which is not advisable if you suffer from hypertension.

  10. Tai Chi: This is an ancient Chinese tradition, which is considered as a graceful form of exercise. It is often called meditation in motion and is characterised by gentle, flowing movements. Tai Chi has many different styles, each unique to themselves and focusing either on health benefits or as martial arts.

Stress Management Techniques for Hypertension

Managing emotional stress is key for keeping blood pressure in check. Stress activates fight-or-flight hormones that narrowly focus blood flow toward big muscles instead of inward to organs. Doing quick 2-5 minute relaxation practices several times daily prevents stress buildup. 

Deep breathing, listening to calming music, taking mindful movement breaks, going for walks outdoors in nature, enjoying hobbies, praying/meditating, writing in a journal, talking problems over with trusted friends - these things work wonders. 

Identify your stress triggers and have a plan to decompress healthily. Don’t ignore early warning signs like headaches or irritability. Be responsible for regularly recharging your mental batteries.

The Problem With Exercising with Hypertension

While it is good to have an exercise regime, it is certainly not advisable to overdo it. Exercises like sprinting should be avoided as they are very intense forms of exercise that last for a very short duration of time. This unnecessarily raises the blood pressure too quickly and puts a lot of strain on the heart and blood vessels. In order to keep your interest from waning, you should indulge in a mix of exercises. 

Exercise Tips for Those With High Blood Pressure

  • Choose low impact exercises

  • Avoid exercising during extreme weather

  • Ensure your warm ups and cooldowns are maintained 

  • Concentrate on exercises that improve your strength 

  • Ensure your doctors are informed about your exercise routine and continue medications.

3 Ways to Stick With Exercise

  • Set a realistic and achievable goal

  • Make it a routine

  • Make sure your enjoy the activities that you've planned 

Chair exercises for people with blood pressure

Seated Leg Lifts:

  • Sit on the edge of a chair with your feet flat on the floor.

  • Slowly lift one leg straight 

  • Hold for a few seconds and then lower it.

  • Repeat with the other leg. 

  • Do this with each leg for at least 10-15 times

Seated Torso Twist:

  • Sit with your feet flat on the ground with your hands placed on your thighs. 

  • Twist your upper body to one side, looking over your shoulder.

  • Hold for a few seconds

  • Repeat the twist on the other side.

When to Skip Exercise or Seek Medical Advice

Safety should always be your priority. Avoid vigorous exercise if you feel lightheaded, extremely fatigued, have chest discomfort/pain, irregular pulse, difficulty breathing, calf pain, or severe joint/muscle aches. Lightheadedness or moderate muscle soreness is often fixed with electrolytes/fluids. But if worrisome symptoms occur regularly with exercise, see your doctor to ensure an underlying medical issue isn’t to blame. 

They can tailor special precautions just for you. An activity level that avoids triggering adverse symptoms is ideal - even light walking has benefits. Health improvements happen gradually through consistency. Talk to your doctor if you are frustrated that lifestyle changes haven’t lowered your blood pressure enough yet. Medications might be indicated, but don’t give up healthy habits.

A word of caution

While it is good to have an exercise regime, it is certainly not advisable to overdo it. Exercises like sprinting should be avoided as they are very intense forms of exercise that last for a very short duration of time. This unnecessarily raises the blood pressure too quickly and puts a lot of strain on the heart and blood vessels. In order to keep your interest from waning, you should indulge in a mix of exercises.

Also read: Ayushman Bharat Health Account (ABHA)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here’s a list of common questions and answers related to exercises for High Blood Pressure patients.


Is it safe to exercise if you have High Blood Pressure?

Yes, it is safe for most people with High Blood Pressure to exercise. However, just to be on the safe side, consult your doctor before you start exercising.

Should I take my blood pressure medicines before or after exercise?

If your blood pressure is relatively high, your doctor may advise you to take your blood pressure medicines before you start doing exercises. Please consult your doctor regarding this.

How much time should I spend doing exercises?

It is recommended that every adult should exercise moderately for 30 minutes daily, 5 times a week. 

Does one need to indulge in some warm-up exercises and cool down after the exercise routine?

It is important to have some sort of warm-up before you get into the actual exercise and cool down later because it helps your heart rate. By doing so, you also lower your risk of injury and/or soreness.

Do I need to consult a doctor before increasing the level/intensity of exercise?

Healthy individuals generally do not need to consult a doctor before increasing the intensity of exercise. The doctor’s advice may be required in the case of people suffering from chronic health conditions so that they are made aware of their limitations.

How quickly can I expect to see improvements in my blood pressure?

While individual responses vary, many people see improvements within a few weeks to months of consistent exercise. The key is regularity and patience.

Are there any specific breathing techniques I should use while exercising?

Deep, controlled breathing can enhance relaxation and oxygen flow. Focus on breathing deeply from your diaphragm, especially during activities like yoga or tai chi.

Disclaimer: The content on this page is generic and shared only for informational and explanatory purposes. It is based on several secondary sources on the internet. Please consult a doctor before making any health-related decisions.


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