Exercise and Blood Pressure Part 2 of 2

Exercise and Blood Pressure Part 2 of 2

In this second and final blog on exercise and blood pressure we will be looking more closely at how physical activity and exercise can impact on your blood pressure but also how you should be training. If you missed the first part of this blog then please go back and check it out. We looked at causes of blood pressure and changing lifestyle to manage the condition.

Refresh: Classification

CategorySystolic BP (mmHg)Diastolic BP (mmHg
High Normal13-13985-89
Grade 1 Hypertension (Mild)140-15990-99
Grade 2 Hypertension (Moderate)160-179100-109
Grade 3 Hypertension180+110+


Exercise & Hypertension (blood pressure)

Immediately after exercise there is an acute reduction of 10-20 mmHg in systolic blood pressure. This can last for up to 1-3 hours following 30-45minutes of moderate intensity exercise. There are a number of reasons this occurs but put simply the arteries become dilated during exercise allowing blood to flow under less resistance and in turn requires the heart to pump with less force.

Always consult your doctor before starting any new form of exercise. All recommendations here are general and one to one coaching should be sought to ensure safe and reliable results. Please not that individuals on medication will have additional considerations outside of the basic guidelines offered here. You should seek advice from your GP and an exercise referral qualified instructor such as those at Fundamentally FIT.

Exercise Recommendations

Warm up & cool down.

Due to the added demand on the cardiovascular system during the exercise hypertensive individuals should allow for a slightly longer more gradual warm up. This should be 10-15mins depending on the individual and level of fitness.

Frequency of exercise- Hypertensive individuals should exercise on most days of the week as an acute reduction in blood pressure occurs after a single bout of exercise. This allows for optimal management of the condition.

Intensity- Exercise intensity should be light- moderate or a perceived exertion of 11-13 on a scale of 1-20. This intensity appears to reduce blood pressure to the same degree or more than exercise of a higher intensity. Remember training more frequently is the key to better blood pressure management, training to a higher intensity may not be suitable for your level of blood pressure but could also leave you feeling tired or too sore to train more often. This in turn will reduce the benefits of training at a higher intensity if frequency is reduced as a result.

Duration- A recommended duration of 30-60 minutes of continuous or intermittent exercise is recommended. Intermittent exercise should be performed in bouts of 10 minutes to accumulate a total of 30-60 minutes. This could include swimming, cycling, cross training, jogging or power walking.

For example: 10mins power walking, 10mins cycling & 10mins cross training @ 11-13 Perceived excretion (light- moderate) Total time 30mins.

Energy expenditure – The recommendations from the American council for sports medicine are that hypertensive individuals should aim to burn 700-2000 calories per week for optimal management of blood pressure.


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