December 20, 2018

Exercise Just as Good as Pills for High Blood Pressure

exercise can be as effective as medicine to fight high blood pressure

If you are suffering from high blood pressure, the recommended course of action is probably to take some prescribed medications and to watch what you eat. There are a number of foods in your diet that can lead to hypertension, as well as foods that can help lower your blood pressure, so your diet is one thing that you should definitely be watching.

Similarly, there are many medications on the market that help to lower your blood pressure by opening up your blood vessels, putting less strain on your heart to be able to pump blood all around the body. Taking this medication is extremely important, as high blood pressure can increase the risk factors for many issues that can lead to premature death.

However, new research reveals that just as important as medicine is getting enough exercise.

Exercise to Combat High Blood Pressure

In what is believed to be the first study of its kind, researchers in the US and UK teamed up to examine the effect of exercise on hypertension. While it is recommended that more research is done to be conclusive, the early evidence suggests that exercise may be just as effective in fighting high blood pressure as a medication is.

After examining nearly 200 clinical trials that investigated drug impact on HBP, as well as nearly 200 trials on the effects of exercise (altogether there were 40,000 trial participants), the researchers came to the conclusion on the effectiveness of exercise in fighting HBP.

When isolating the data to only those that had high blood pressure at the outset of the studies, the researchers found that getting consistent exercise proved to be just as helpful in HBP than the results shown by those taking prescription drugs. The strongest results were found in those who combined endurance exercise with dynamic resistance training. This would be like running or jogging, combined with weightlifting.

getting more exercise can help with HBP

However, while the results are promising, it is too early to suggest that medication could be completely replaced with an exercise program. For the best results, it is suggested that increasing your activity levels along with undergoing drug treatment is the most effective course.

My Thoughts

I am not surprised in the least bit that they have uncovered yet another benefit of getting enough exercise. It is absolutely crucial for your health, your weight, your mood, etc., that it is not shocking news that it can also have an effect on hypertension.

I am curious to read the studies in more detail to see exactly how this effect occurs. Maybe it promotes more blood flow, makes circulation more efficient? Perhaps the rush of endorphins has a chemical effect? I don’t know, but I’d be curious to find out, and look forward to more research on this topic.

If you are afflicted with high blood pressure, by all means, continue to take your prescribed medication. But it is also time to take a look at how much exercise you’re getting. Are you active enough? With this newfound information, there is even more motivation to get off the couch to help with your HBP.


T.J. LaPanta is a Florida based aspiring comedian and health nut.
When he's not trying to hack his way through a post-graduate degree, he's slaving away in the kitchen, working out, or trying to score a date.

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