Author: Patricia Bratianu RN PhD RH-AHG
We all know that exercise is good for us. Did you know that exercise may help to prevent or control high blood pressure? Here is how it works.
1. When we exercise, we are keeping our blood vessels flexible. They dilate, open up, to provide nourishment and oxygenation to those hard working muscles we are using.
2. Exercise is linked to better utilization of glucose. It helps to decrease insulin resistance of our cells. Excess sugars do not require storage. When we do not exercise, higher levels of glucose can make linings of the blood vessels sticky. Accumulation of LDL, or “bad cholesterol”, ensues, raising blood pressure. Exercise creates lower levels of glucose, less sticky linings and inhibits buildup of cholesterol.
3. The body produces less LDL cholesterol, which builds up and narrows the blood vessels. The heart has to work harder and blood pressure increases if narrowed vessels are present. Hardening of the arteries may occur, furthering the need for the heart to work excessively. With exercise, blood vessels are not constricted by cholesterol build up and vessels are not hardened; circulation flows as it is designed to.
4. Exercise helps to prevent spasms of arteries, including the coronary arteries which supply the blood flow to the heart muscle itself. Reduced spasms means less pain and less constriction of vessels, which can result in angina or increased blood pressure.
5. Exercise reduces inflammation in the walls of the blood vessels and throughout the entire body. Inflammation has been linked to atherosclerosis, blood vessel damage and heart attack.
6. A circulatory system that is not functioning well has to put out more effort, hence blood pressure increases. Exercise makes the circulatory system healthy.
7. Exercise promotes a healthy weight. Weight management results in a lowered blood pressure. It increases our metabolic rate; we burn more calories per hour. Even after we stop exercising, our metabolic rate remains elevated for several hours. Belly fat may be reduced. Excess belly fat is a component of metabolic syndrome linked to increased risk of diabetes or heart attack.
8. People who exercise make healthier food choices. They are not couch potatoes eating fat, sugar and salt laden ingredients which contribute to high blood pressure. If you are exercising, you are moving, not sitting and consuming more calories. Vigorous exercise even reduces the appetite.
9. Exercise releases endorphins and other “feel good” compounds. Being relaxed reduces blood pressure.
Now that you know how many ways that exercise can aid blood pressure management, it's time to get up and go. Native Remedies makes some products which are safe and effective to help you on your path to a healthy blood pressure. Try High-Rite, Aqua-Rite or Circu-Live, depending upon your individual needs. If you have not been engaging in an exercise program or if you have health concerns, check with your healthcare provider for exercise advice.