Can Aerobic Classes Lower Your Blood Pressure?

Regularly attending an aerobic class will help reduce your blood pressure.

Regularly attending an aerobic class will help reduce your blood pressure.

If your blood pressure is high, talk to your doctor about exercising it back down to the normal range. Aerobic exercise can lower both of your blood pressure numbers, reducing your systolic reading up to 11 millimeters of mercury and taking your diastolic reading down by about 9, according to the American Council on Exercise. Those results rival the effects of hypertension medication, so attending aerobic classes could keep you off the meds, depending on where your blood pressure is.

How Does it Help?

You might think that getting your heart going and setting your blood to flowing would raise your blood pressure, but it's actually those elements that work to bring your blood pressure down. The Mayo Clinic reports that regular aerobic exercise strengthens your heart, and a stronger heart works more efficiently. When your heart can pump more blood with a reduced amount of effort, the push against your arteries diminishes, resulting in lower blood pressure.

Consistency is Key

Although your blood pressure will drop for up to eight hours after just one aerobic class, you won't see positive results overall for the long term unless you participate in classes regularly. "Regular" can be as little as four times a week. But if exercising just a few times each week brings positive results, consider that daily aerobic activity will have an even more powerful effect on your blood pressure numbers.

Low Intensity is Effective

You don't have to find an extreme, high-impact aerobic class to attend in order to reap the lower-blood-pressure rewards of aerobic exercise. The American Council on Exercise advises people with high blood pressure that low-intensity aerobic exercise -- just 50 to 75 percent of your maximum heart rate -- is enough to reduce systolic and diastolic blood pressure readings.

Cautions

Before you decide that aerobic classes are the answer to your high blood pressure woes, consult your doctor to get the green light. If he agrees that it will benefit you, take the time to warm up for five minutes or more before each class, and to cool down for at least five minutes afterward, too. Don't hold your breath while you exercise; instead, concentrate on breathing normally. Be aware of danger signs like dizziness, chest pain, undue fatigue or an irregular heartbeat. If you experience any of these symptoms you should immediately leave class and seek medical attention.

 

About the Author

Elle Di Jensen has been a writer and editor since 1990. She began working in the fitness industry in 1987, and her experience includes editing and publishing a workout manual. She has an extended family of pets, including special needs animals. Jensen attended Idaho and Boise State Universities. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications.

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