Exercising with hypertension
Hypertension or high blood pressure is a common problem, especially in the western world. Once gone unchecked, it only becomes more severe with age. It also increases the chances of a person getting a heart attack, complete heart failure or even stroke. As the disease progresses, the high blood pressure damages the blood vessels and stresses the heart constantly. It also often goes unnoticed, because often there are no conspicuous symptoms,that does not necessarily mean that the disease is already in an advanced stage. Kidney problems, obesity or being overweight, lack of physical activity and even family history are some of the known causes of hypertension.
Once diagnosed, though there is no direct cure, medication, diet and lifestyle changes can help in controlling and regulating hypertension very easily. Reduced salt intake, exercise and regular physical activity are some steps a patient can take to name a few. Since exercise is crucial, as it improves the muscle strength and stamina, it is important to consider what kind of exercises and what precautions to take as a patient of hypertension.
Regular exercise improves blood supply to the whole body along with the heart muscles. It also stimulates development of new tissue connections in the blood vessels and preventing further damage due to high blood pressure. Exercising does not necessarily mean running marathons or lifting heavy weights. It has been shown that moderate but regular exercise can do wonders for one’s overall health, especially for the heart. But it is important to know the right way to start and follow the exercise regimen since living with hypertension, does put you at a few secondary health risks afterall. Here are a few tips to get you started.
- Consult your cardiologist:
First and foremost, it is absolutely critical to consult your doctor before you bring about any drastic changes in your lifestyle such as exercising or increasing physical activity, anything that your body is not accustomed to. Sudden stress on your heart muscles or circulatory system can be harmful. Your medical care provider will advise you the best way to get started.
2. Follow the right pace:
Once you start, and get used to your exercise program, it is helpful if you start slowly and avoid any exertion or sudden changes that your body may find hard to cope with. The key is to slowly but progressively increase your level of physical activity. Often, cardio fitness training is required more frequently, which you will be able to slowly increase, once you get started.
If you go for a run for 5 consecutive days and then relax for the next 2 weeks, it is as good as no exercise. Try to incorporate regularity and stick to some form of routine or schedule.
4. Knowing your limit
As you go, you will see some changes in your body are good and some might interfere with your daily activities. Such as moderate muscle pain in legs or extremities is good, and only a sign that you are putting your muscles to work. This usually goes after the first few days. However, changes such as feeling of fatigue of exertion throughout the day, insomnia, breathlessness etc is an indicator that you are not doing it right or you would need to take it slow. Follow the cues from your body and find the zone that you are comfortable in. It is important to not overdo anything.
5. Exercise capacity
Usually it has been seen that exercising to a level to attain 40-60% of your aerobic capacity is beneficial. Anything below might not be enough and anything higher in that zone, you may start burning your proteins instead of fats or glucose, which can be bad for the body.