Simple Exercises to Lower Blood Pressure

Regular physical activity can help reduce blood pressure and is especially beneficial for people with slightly elevated blood pressure or a family history of hypertension. Exercise lowers blood pressure by stimulating the production of nitric oxide, a substance in blood-vessel walls that helps keep the vessels open so blood can move through efficiently. All types of exercise, from simple housework to a strenuous workout, has this effect on blood pressure.

At Home

Vacuuming, general housecleaning, raking leaves, gardening, mowing the lawn, walking up and down stairs, painting and performing general household repairs all are simple exercises that can help lower your blood pressure. If you are older or disabled and cannot participate in normal activities at home, consult your doctor about alternative ways to exercise. Even simple exercises performed while you are sitting can help lower your blood pressure.

Outdoors

Brisk walking, hiking, running, jogging, swimming and riding a bicycle are simple aerobic exercises to lower blood pressure. The University of Illinois’s McKinley Health Center recommends at least 150 minutes a week, or 30 minutes most days, of cardiovascular (aerobic) exercise to reduce the risk of developing high blood pressure. Thirty minutes of brisk walking most days might be enough to help medication work more effectively if you take it for high blood pressure, and it also can help lower slightly elevated blood pressure so no medication is required, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI).

At the Gym

Exercise can lower your blood pressure, and if you take medication for high blood pressure, a consistent routine of simple exercises might allow you to lower your dosage, according to Harvard Medical School. The NHLBI recommends using stair-climbers and treadmills at the gym because they are similar in effect to the climbing and walking you do at home and outdoors. Begin slowly, and gradually increase your speed and the amount of time you spend on gym equipment over a period of weeks or even months.

About this Author

Molly McAdams is a writer in New York City. She has been covering health and lifestyle topics for various print and online publishers since 1989. Molly has written more than 200 articles for Livestrong.com and e-how.com. McAdams has a Master of Science degree in nutrition.