CHOOSE YOUR EXERCISES
High blood pressure, which affects about 1 in 5 Canadians, increases your risk of heart disease and stroke. Exercise and a healthy diet are important ways to prevent high blood pressure. Exercise also boosts the effectiveness of blood pressure medication if you already have hypertension.
PUT THE FUN BACK IN EXERCISE
Find activities you enjoy and aim for 30 minutes a day of “exercise” on most days of the week. Daily
housework, gardening, washing windows, using the stairs, carrying your groceries, walking at the mall,
or riding bikes with the kids all add up to exercise that benefits your heart.
TIP: Increase activity by parking at the end of the lot, or get off the bus a stop early and walk to your destination.
You don’t need to belong to a gym to become more active.
But some people find it easier to focus on their workout in a gym setting. As an added bonus, the trainer at your local fitness center can teach you how to use the equipment properly to avoid injury.
STRENGTHEN YOUR HEART
Strengthening or resistance exercise with free weights, weight machines, or by doing abdominal crunches or curl-ups can boost heart health if done twice to three times a week. Resistance exercise
lowers blood pressure, reduces body fat, and increases muscle mass and metabolic rate.
CAN’T TAKE THE STRESS? THEN SWIM
Heart-pumping conditioning exercise is important for lowering blood pressure.
Try swimming at your local “Y” or fitness center. Swimming for 30 minutes reduces the amount of circulating adrenaline in the body and relaxes blood vessels.
Swimming can help lower your pulse rate and lower blood pressure.
HOW MUCH EXERCISE IS ENOUGH?
If you have moderate increases in blood pressure, 30 minutes of brisk walking may be enough to keep you off medication. If you already take medication for high blood pressure, 30 minutes of moderate exercise—working hard enough to raise your heart rate and break a sweat— can help your medications work more effectively. If you don’t have high blood pressure, being physically active can help keep it normal.
Haven’t exercised in a while? Start slowly to prevent injuries.
Gradually increase your exercise time as you get stronger. For instance, start with 10 to 15 minutes of exercise you enjoy, such as walking around the block or on a treadmill, or riding a stationary bike. Every few days, increase the time you spend exercising until you reach the goal of 30 minutes each day.
PACE YOURSELF TO AVOID INJURY –
TIP: warm up your muscles with a few stretching exercise before you get into motion.
If you’re new to exercise, remember to pace yourself. Select a low- to moderate-intensity exercise such as yoga, cycling (leisure), gardening, mall walking, water aerobics, or swimming (moderate pace). Slowly increase the intensity and duration of your exercise as you become more fit.