There’s a reason high blood pressure is called the “Silent Killer.” Since it doesn’t exhibit any visible symptoms, it often goes undiagnosed. In fact, this condition affects nearly 1 in every 3 adult Americans. If left untreated, it can be fatal.
Fortunately, there’s a natural way to get the upper hand on this condition: strength training.
In the following article, we’ll define high blood pressure, explain how physicians diagnose it, and demonstrate the ways strength training reduces it.
What Is High Blood Pressure?
The best way to describe blood pressure is to think of your body as a vehicle.
Similar to how cars need gas to run, your body needs blood to live. So blood is basically the fuel that powers your organs.
Each time your heart beats, the pressure (systolic pressure) it produces pumps oxygenated blood throughout the various veins, arteries and capillaries to reach your vital organs. However, the heart also builds pressure (diastolic pressure) between beats.
High blood pressure (also known as HBP or hypertension) results when the force of the blood against the walls of your arteries is increasingly too high. If left untreated, this high pressure damages the artery walls and leads to plaque formation. When the plaque builds, it constricts the arteries.
Since the arteries are now more narrow, the heart has to work harder to pump the blood through them. This in turn causes an even more drastic increase in blood pressure. When this occurs, the risk of heart attack or stroke greatly increases.
How Is High Blood Pressure Diagnosed?
To determine if your blood pressure is normal or high, healthcare professionals conduct a blood pressure test.
After wrapping your arm in a special cuff, the healthcare professional inflates the cuff. While the cuff inflates, they place a stethoscope on your main artery to measure your blood pressure by listening to the blood flow and your pulse.
When the cuff is fully inflated, the healthcare professional opens a valve to release the air. As the cuff deflates and the pressure falls, the healthcare professional measures your systolic pressure by listening for the sound of your blood pulsing.
After the cuff is completely deflated, the sound of your blood pulsing begins to fade. Once it has stopped, your diastolic pressure is measured.
The healthcare professional then uses numbers (measured in millimeters of mercury mm Hg) to determine your blood pressure.
If the systolic pressure is less than 120 mm HG and the diastolic pressure is less than 80 mm Hg, then your blood pressure is in the “normal” category.
One the other hand, if the systolic pressure is between 120-129 mm HG and the diastolic pressure is less than 80 mm Hg, then your blood pressure is in the elevated or prehypertensive category.
High blood pressure is diagnosed when the systolic pressure is between the 130-139 mm HG range while and the diastolic pressure falls into the 80-89 mm Hg range
If HBP is diagnosed, physicians often prescribe one or more medications to treat the condition.
However, exercise- especially strength training- and proper diet are also effective, drug-free ways to improve your blood pressure.
How Does Strength Training Improve High Blood Pressure?
As shown in recent studies, exercise routines that focus on strength training have proven effective in improving blood pressure, but many physicians tend to recommend a cardio-based workout to their patients.
Their reasoning behind this is that strength training raises blood pressure and heart rate to dangerous levels in an effort to accommodate the muscles’ increased demand for more oxygen. They believe that these higher heart rates could potentially increase the risk of a heart attack.
However, any exercise, whether it is resistance, aerobic, or endurance-based, increases blood pressure and heart rate while it is being performed. But, done consistently over time, exercise can drastically improve your blood pressure as your heart gets stronger and pumps blood more efficiently.
Remember: your heart is a muscle- the more you put it to work by getting your heart rate up, the stronger it gets! By engaging in a weekly strength training routine, you’ll improve your blood pressure by:
- Maintaining a healthy body weight by building muscle mass and burning calories.
- Keeping your heart strong so that it effortlessly pumps blood.
- Increasing blood flow to repair sore and fatigued muscles.
- Lowering systolic blood pressure.
From weight training programs to simple handgrip exercises, strength training has demonstrated its effectiveness in improving blood pressure and reducing the risk of the dangers associated with this condition.
Improve Your Blood Pressure With Loyalty Fitness
Staying active and reducing the amount of time you are sedentary is essential for good health.
Frequent inactivity is the gateway for a whole slew of serious health conditions such as high blood pressure.
By actively participating in a strength training program, performing daily aerobic exercise that you enjoy, and eating a nutritious diet, you’ll feel and see an array of benefits, including lower blood pressure.
Want to improve the quality of your blood pressure? Contact us today to enjoy your first strength training session!