Exercise and Hypertension
Hypertension is defined by having a systolic blood pressure (SBP) equal to or greater than 140mmHg, and a diastolic blood pressure (DBP) equal to or greater than 90mmHg. Those who have hypertension are at increased risk for other diseases such as coronary artery disease, stroke, and renal failure. The likelihood of having hypertension increases with age. There are many reasons for this. After we reach age 50, our systolic blood pressure slowly increases, while our diastolic blood pressure tends to remain the same and then slowly decreases with advancing age. Therefore, it is more likely for an older adult to develop isolated systolic hypertension than isolated diastolic hypertension. It is important to identify and treat early or prehypertension (as defined by a SBP of 120-139 mmHg and a DBP or 80-89mmHg) as the appropriate diet and exercise changes can lower your cardiovascular risk by 50% (Chobanian et al., 2003). Weight reduction, reducing sodium intake, incorporating the DASH eating plan (http://dashdiet.org/) and exercising regularly are all important lifestyle modifications for controlling or preventing high blood pressure. Exercise recommendations include cardiovascular training on most or all days of the week for 30-60 minutes of continuous or accumulated activity. Cardiovascular exercise should be rhythmic, targeting large muscle groups, and individualized. Other types of exercise such as resistance training and mind-body exercise are also helpful components of a balanced fitness plan; however, it is important to consult a qualified exercise professional in order to determine the correct level and program for your stage and condition.
Bryant, C. and D. Green (Eds.) ACE Advanced Health and Fitness Specialist Manual (2012.) San Diego: American Council on Exercise.
Chobanian, A.V. et al. (2003). JNC 7 Express: The Seventh Report of the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure. NIH Publication No. 03-5233. Washington, D.C.: National Institutes of Health and National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.