ZocdocAnswersCan I lower my high blood pressure through exercise?

Question

Can I lower my high blood pressure through exercise?

My doctor said my blood pressure would go down if I lost weight. Which exericses are best?

Answer

Your doctor is correct that exercise will help lower your blood pressure. In fact there are several life style type modifications that can be done to reduce blood pressure without medications. I offer this strategy to my patients that are motivated to lower their blood pressure without medications, and those who have only moderate high blood pressure (top number between 130-150). The type of exercise which will help you lower your blood pressure is aerobic exercise such as brisk walking, jogging, or swimming. Between 30 and 60 minutes several days a week can lower your blood pressure by several points. In addition, if you are overweight, then losing 10% of your body weight can also reduce your blood pressure. Thus, this exercise you are planning could help reduce your blood pressure in more than one way. One additional measure you can take is reduction in salt intake. If you reduce your salt intake to less than 4 grams per day, you can also reduce your blood pressure. Give these exercises an honest try for at least a month before you return to your doctor. What I would do is schedule an appointment with your primary care physician 1-2 months out from now for a repeat blood pressure check. If you can institute a good exercise plan, I think you get good results from this. Good luck.

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