High blood pressure, referred to as hypertension, is one of the leading causes of death in most countries. High blood pressure is the condition when the heart pumps blood at a higher force, increasing the pressure on the tissues around the arteries that damages them over time. The unit for measuring blood pressure is millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). The American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology classify blood pressure into four broad categories – normal, raised, stage 1 hypertension, and stage 2 hypertension. Typically, normal blood pressure is 120/80 mmHg or less. However, blood pressure is elevated and may progress to stages 1 and 2 hypertension if it is over the normal range.
Hypertension that is not treated can put a person at risk for health problems, particularly those that impact the heart and brain, such as a stroke or heart attack. In most cases, there are no symptoms until the condition manifests itself; most individuals are unaware that they have high blood pressure. However, some medications can only be prescribed by a medical professional. In addition, making adjustments to one’s lifestyle could forestall or postpone future complications.
Staying active is extremely important for healthy living. The risk of hypertension, or high blood pressure, rises with age, but regular exercise lowers that risk considerably. Regular exercise improves cardiovascular health. A healthier heart can circulate more blood with less exertion, and reduced arterial pressure results in lower blood pressure. A person’s diastolic pressure should be 80 mm Hg or less, while systolic pressure should be 120 mm Hg or less. Increased physical activity has been shown to reduce systolic and diastolic blood pressure from 4 to 12 mm Hg in diastolic and 3 to 6 mm Hg in systolic blood pressure.
Regular exercise is essential for maintaining normal blood pressure. Blood pressure reduction from exercise often takes one and three months to become noticeable. The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes per week of moderate aerobic exercise, 75 minutes per week of strenuous aerobic activity, or a mix of the two. The recommended amount of aerobic exercise per week is 30 minutes each day. Aerobic exercise provides the same health benefits whether performed in one continuous 30-minute session or three shorter 10-minute intervals; therefore, it is essential to start slowly.