Regular blood pressure management is crucial for both healthy individuals and those with high blood pressure. High blood pressure can lead to dangerous conditions such as stroke (cerebral infarction or cerebral hemorrhage), heart disease (angina or myocardial infarction), as well as chronic kidney disease, which may require dialysis, and dementia (vascular). By adjusting daily habits such as diet and exercise, high blood pressure can be prevented and well-controlled to avoid complications that can even threaten life.
◆ Aerobic exercise reduces systolic blood pressure by 5-7 mmHg
High blood pressure refers to a condition where the systolic blood pressure is 140 mmHg or higher, or the diastolic blood pressure is 90 mmHg or higher. Methods for controlling blood pressure include exercise-diet therapy and medication. According to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, regular aerobic exercises such as walking can lower systolic blood pressure by 5-7 mmHg and reduce the risk of heart disease by 10-30%. To maximize the benefits of exercise, blood pressure should be well-controlled before any changes occur in blood vessels or the heart.
◆ Older people should walk more rather than do strength training?
For elderly patients with high blood pressure, low-impact walking exercises are generally recommended as they carry less risk of injury. However, if strength training is not performed, muscle loss can occur, leading to a decrease in exercise capacity. Safe strength training not only helps to maintain muscle strength but also helps to control blood pressure. It is especially helpful in reducing blood pressure fluctuations. Therefore, while walking is the first recommendation, it is advisable to engage in a mix of strength, endurance, and flexibility exercises.
◆ Can you eat freely and exercise hard?
It is important to regulate your diet appropriately as it is difficult to burn off all the calories consumed through exercise. For example, a slice of cheesecake is 250 calories, which would require a 25-minute run to burn off. Eating too much salt can cause an increase in blood pressure, which can also increase during exercise. Thus, regulating calorie and salt intake is key to maximizing the effects of exercise. It is crucial to consume less than 6g of salt per day and to quit smoking and drinking alcohol. It is also recommended to reduce the intake of animal fat and increase the intake of vegetables, fruits, fish, nuts, and dairy products.
◆ For blood pressure control, prioritize aerobic exercises such as walking or jogging
For high blood pressure prevention and management, aerobic exercises such as walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, gymnastics, jumping rope, tennis, and aerobics are recommended. These exercises burn fat, which aids in weight loss, and can improve cardiovascular fitness. Resistance exercises using weights or machines, such as squats or lunges, can be added to improve muscle strength. Always consult with your doctor before beginning an exercise regimen.