Welcome news to the many who suffer from hypertension. Exercise has been shown to cut the chance of death in a recent 12-year study. What’s more, the team also saw that inactivity upped the chance of death, as potent a threat as a rise in blood pressure readings by 40 to 50 points. Fortunately, you can address this risk and lower blood pressure with exercise.
You’ve probably heard hypertension described as the “silent killer”, and it’s a good name. People can have the condition for years, without symptoms or even knowing anything is wrong, yet the condition quietly does its damage while increasing the chances of heart attack or devastating stroke. This is one of the reasons medical professionals encourage annual exams – once a problem like high blood pressure is identified, it can be treated so that you stay healthier.
The reason that’s important is because hypertension is known to be one of the preventable risks for early death from cardiovascular disease the world over. Cardiovascular disease risk goes up dramatically as those blood pressure numbers rise. In fact, hypertension contributes to almost half of all diagnoses of heart disease – with risk increasing for each 10 point increase in diastolic (bottom number) blood pressure.
This most recent research quantifies the impact of activity on those who have high blood pressure, and included over 434,000 subjects in Taiwan. Of these, 54% were considered inactive, 22% were classified as having low activity levels, another 24% were found to have moderate to even high levels of activity. The chance of death from all things (specifically cardiovascular disease) was higher for those subjects who were classed as inactive in comparison to subjects who were active, no matter what their blood pressure results were.
Getting those numbers down where they should be in order to prevent heart disease is the goal of all doctors. The study researchers suggest that doctors and patients not focus so much on the numbers, but rather the findings of this study should encourage physicians to discuss how important being active is as a way to manage both heart disease and risk of death.
It’s well known that those who are active live longer and feel better. And all it takes is 30 minutes of moderately intense activity as many days of the week as possible – at least 5 for starters. To be successful in lowering blood pressure with exercise over the long term you need to find the right workout – an activity that you enjoy or that you can do with a supportive friend. And, if it’s been a while since you were active on a regular basis, talk to your doctor first, then start slow and build in small steps. Before long you’ll be amazed at how far you’ve come and how great you feel.