September 2, 2014
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High Blood Pressure

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Exercise and high blood pressure

Regular physical activity gives many benefits to people living with hypertension (high blood pressure):

  • It burns calories, which may in turn help shed excess body weight. Since obesity and excess fat, especially around the waist, are risk factors for hypertension and diabetes, regular physical activity is a valuable part of treatment.
  • It increases the strength of your heart muscle and helps to maintain a healthy heart.
  • It can improve your ability to handle or prevent stress and can boost your energy levels as well.

The Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines recommend that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate or vigorous activity a week, along with strengthening exercises 2 days a week. You can add up to the 150 minutes a week with several shorter sessions, but each exercise session should be at least 10 minutes long.

Including physical activity into your lifestyle is not as difficult as many people think. Even activities that are light to moderate in intensity, such as housework and walking, can help. The more physically active you are, the more benefits you'll see. Talk to your doctor about ways to become more physically active, and find out if he or she has recommendations based on your medical history.

Canada's Physical Activity Guide is a comprehensive reference source for Canadians of all ages, with recommendations for types of activities and amount of exercise required to promote health improvement.

You can be physically active in any season. Go for a brisk walk or jog in the spring and summer, go bicycling in the fall and cross-country skiing or indoor swimming in the winter. If you're looking for ways to add some more activity to your week, here are some ideas:

  • Bike or walk to work.
  • Take a class (e.g., martial arts, dance, fitness).
  • Walk after dinner.
  • Train for a fitness event (e.g., charity run, marathon).
  • Start a new sport (e.g., tennis, squash, basketball).

Do not start an intense exercise program without checking with your doctor first.


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