Research Shows Walking Can Reduce High Blood Pressure
Date : Mar 24, 2020
Author : DR Armed Zayed
Categories : Health Care
Regular physical exercise like walking has a lot of much-needed beneficial effects for both our physical and mental health. From stronger bones and muscles, better endurance, and a healthy weight to quality sleep, improved mood, and enhanced cognitive functions – physical activity offers you all that you need to lead a healthy and happy life.
Unfortunately, though, regular physical exercise is rarely at the top of our priorities list. Juggling between work, school, home, children, etc. we are often left with as much as 10 minutes to get a quick workout done. But we have the solution that you have been looking for. How about you start walking wherever you can – to work, school, to the grocery store, or wherever the path may lead you throughout the day? Research suggests that changing this one thing to your daily routine can help you lower your risk of high blood pressure.
According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), up to 45% of American adults are diagnosed with high blood pressure. What is even more surprising is the fact that only 1 in 4 American adults with high blood pressure have their condition under control.
Once diagnosed with high blood pressure, it is extremely important to take all of the necessary steps towards managing your condition. A well-balanced diet, daily exercise, enough sleep, and of course, taking prescribed medication as advised, are some of the best ways to lower your high blood pressure.
The problem with uncontrolled high blood pressure is all of the potential complications. High blood pressure increases the risk for multiple health issues such as heart failure, heart attack, stroke, metabolic syndrome, and even dementia among others.
Is Walking Good For High Blood Pressure? According to Research…..
Choosing to walk instead of taking your car or the bus to work, school, going grocery shopping, or simply taking a short walk during your lunch break can do a lot for your physical and mental health, with a special focus on your cardiovascular health. Over the years, there have been many studies done exploring the effects of walking on our cardiovascular health.
A study published in the Asian Journal of Sports Medicine back in 2013, has explored the effects of walking 10,000 steps daily on cardiovascular health among American and Swedish adults. Pedometers have been used to track their daily movements. The study took place over six months.
In the end, results showed that several different cardiovascular health risk factors had been improved. The participants experienced an improvement in their BMI (Body Mass Index), systolic, and diastolic blood pressure. They have reported experiencing better sleep, better mood, and overall improved general health.
A 2000 study demonstrated similar results. The participants of this study have been encouraged to take up walking as a daily exercise. They also focused on walking 10,000 or more steps a day. Their BMI, blood pressure and maximal oxygen intake have been measured at the beginning and end of the study. Researchers have seen satisfying improvements in blood pressure levels and overall cardiovascular health quality.
Yet another study, published in 2018, has demonstrated the same beneficial effects. Walking 10,000 steps a day can boost your cardiovascular health, lowering your high blood pressure, and improving your overall health, reducing the risk of numerous chronic diseases as well.
If you think about it, walking is a great way to move from one place to another, being an inexpensive workout method that you can implement in your everyday life. We encourage you to invest in a high-quality pedometer that can track your daily movement and even remind you to get up and walk around a bit after having sat behind the desk for hours.
If you find it hard to walk to work instead of driving, then make an effort to get up at least 30 minutes earlier and go for a quick walk. You can also use those few minutes left after you finish eating your lunch at your lunch break to get a few more steps in before you go back to work. Choosing to take the stairs instead of the elevator is also a great way to kick in a few extra steps as well.
Is It Good To Walk When Your Blood Pressure Is High?
It is no secret that daily exercise can help to both prevent and treat numerous health issues, one of which is high blood pressure. Those of you who are living with a family and/or medical history of high blood pressure should know that exercising is a great way to reduce the risk of hypertension.
Speaking of treating hypertension, one of the biggest mistakes that these patients can make is to avoid regular physical activity. Did you know that Mayo Clinic refers to exercise as a drug-free approach to managing high blood pressure? And they are certainly not wrong.
Speaking of exercise, we want to specifically focus on one of the most affordable and easy ways to be more physically active each day – walking! Walking is an inexpensive method that allows you to improve your health, and in this case, to lower your high blood pressure.
Of course, you are allowed to walk in order to get your high blood pressure down! It is recommended to consult your doctor first before you try anything on your own and that includes using walking as a natural method to lower your high blood pressure. In more severe cases, doctors usually like to lower high blood pressure by prescribing proper medications. After they notice a satisfying decline in their patient’s blood pressure levels, they can recommend physical activity as a part of the regiment as well.
Walking Reduce The Risk Factors As Well
You see, walking, like any physical activity, will help reduce the influence of the risk factors that have contributed to the occurrence of high blood pressure in the first place. May that be obesity, diabetes, stress, anxiety, etc. – daily exercise can help eliminate these risk factors, thus lowering the high blood pressure levels.
Research has shown that walking can efficiently lower both the systolic and diastolic blood pressures. A group of researchers followed individuals with hypertension who were participating in advised walking over a period of six weeks. Significant results have been seen even in those with the most severe cases of hypertension.
How Many Miles Should I Walk A Day To Lower Blood Pressure?
A study published back in 2006 revealed 10,000 steps of being the optimal number of steps needed to achieve and maintain optimal health. 10,000 steps equal around five miles for most people. But the thing is, that you do not need to aim for 10,000 steps. Not that there is anything wrong with walking 10,000 steps each day.
But the number that doctors have in mind these days is around 4,000 to 8,000 steps per day. A 2020 study looked at 4840 participants, their physical activity habits, and investigated their risk of all-cause mortality. The results reveal that a high number of daily steps reduce the risk of all-cause mortality.
However, analyzing the results, the researchers concluded that the average number of steps was around 8,000. 8,000 steps are equivalent to approximately 3.6 miles per day. That is if you decide on slow walking, which is perfect for those struggling with high blood pressure levels. Starting slow is always the advised option. The speed and intensity of walking are then advised to be accordingly increased overtime.
Can Walk 20 Minutes A Day Lower Blood Pressure?
Many of us are living busy lives. This translates into having less time to spend on anything outside your work and family. This is also the reason why so many of us are ignoring the importance of daily exercise, using the excuse that we simply do not have the time.
But that is exactly the thing here – we all have time to exercise, the question is what are we prepared to sacrifice in exchange for a couple of minutes of daily exercise? Is it our late-night binging yet another TV show on Netflix? Or maybe sleeping in on weekends?
Maybe you do not have an hour to spend at the gym or even an hour of walking in the nearby park, but you certainly have at least 10-20 minutes. Anyone who says otherwise is lying to themselves.
Aim For 10 Minutes
Just 10-20 minutes of walking can help bring your high blood pressure down. Brisk walks seem to be more effective in combating hypertension as compared to long walks, a study published in the Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care suggests. The participants engaged in 10-minute brisk walks, three to four times a day. The results were quite positive, to say the least.
So even if you do not have a whole hour to spend, aim for a 10-minute walk at least three times a day. Or perhaps a 20-minute walk one to two times a day would work better for you. Whatever you decide on, make sure that you implement it as soon as possible. Allow the positive results to overtake your body and feel as your blood pressure is lowering down.
If you or a family member are struggling with high blood pressure, walking can help you bring it down. Walking is one of the best ways to remain in a fit shape, without much of an effort. Even the busiest people among us at least 10-20 minutes per day to get their walking shoes on and go for a brisk walk. Set a daily goal for 4,000-8,000 steps and start lowering your hypertension right away.