High blood pressure gradually develops over time and can happen due to a variety of reasons like pre-existing medical conditions, unhealthy food choices, lack of physical activity, and family history. The risk of high blood pressure or hypertension also increases with age.
If you are suffering from hypertension, there are different ways to reduce your blood pressure by a few points. Most people visit doctors for high blood pressure and are immediately put on a course of medication. While there is nothing wrong with taking medicines for your health concerns, you can also lower your blood pressure by increasing your daily physical activity and maintaining healthy body weight.
Research has shown that just 30 minutes of exercise a day, 4 to 5 days a week, can be as effective as medicines when it comes to lowering your blood pressure. And no, you do not need to go to the gym to lose or maintain your weight. Even an easy-to-do, free activity like walking can do the trick!
Can walking really lower blood pressure?
Committing to a whole new workout regime can be overwhelming, we get it. This is why walking is one of the best exercises, for beginners and fitness fanatics alike. Even those who regularly participate in other forms of exercise can benefit from low impact steady-state cardio exercises like walking. Cardio exercises, like the name suggests, are good for your cardiovascular health as they make your heart stronger. A strong heart is able to pump more blood with less effort which, in turn, can help lower your blood pressure.
If you are overweight or obese, most forms of exercise can be difficult to perform, especially if you are a beginner. Walking regularly does not just improve your heart health but can also help you lose or maintain weight when paired with a nutritious diet. If you have no prior experience with walking for fitness, start small. Start by walking just 10 to 15 minutes every day at a moderate to brisk pace. Use a step tracker like StepSetGo to record your walks and aim to increase your steps walked and distance covered every week. Walking with high blood pressure at a pace that is comfortable for you is one of the safest exercises you can invest your time in. But like with any other workout, always check with your doctor before adding walks to your daily routine.
Walking to reduce blood pressure? Here is how you can make it fun!
Starting a new workout program, even something as simple as walking can be exciting at first. But as days pass, you might sometimes find yourself becoming unmotivated. To truly reap the benefits of walking for lowering blood pressure, you need to be consistent.
Here are some ways to stay on track with your daily walks –
- Do not skip a warm-up and cool down before and after your daily walk as it helps prevent injury.
- Create a fun playlist. Whether you enjoy listening to music, podcasts, or audiobooks, keep a playlist ready to get you in the zone.
- Find a friend who can accompany you on your daily walks. Exercise buddies are great for keeping you accountable and motivated.
- Challenge yourself and get rewarded. Apps like StepSetGo help you earn coins for every step you take, which you can then redeem for exciting rewards. It also keeps track of all your metrics like distance covered, time taken, steps walked, etc. so you can see how you have progressed over time.
Even though walking when you have high blood pressure is absolutely safe and advised by doctors all over the world, remember that it is normal for your body to feel a little discomfort at the start. You might experience a faster heartbeat and may breathe a little harder as your body gets used to this new form of exercise. But if you feel any symptoms like shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness, or abnormally high pain in your legs, stop walking immediately and seek help from a medical professional.
Make walking a daily habit to lower your blood pressure, feel energized, and improve your overall health and fitness levels!