You’ve probably heard that exercise is very effective at regulating blood pressure. As you train, the heart muscle becomes stronger and therefore more efficient at pumping blood around the body. But we tend to think of that as a consequence of weeks to months of regular exercise. My client usually started his personal training sessions feeling stressed about his work. We know that exercise is good for reducing stress, and stress increases blood pressure. But how quickly can exercise calm us down? Here are my client’s blood pressure readings before and after his 1-hour training sessions:
- Before: 159/83 After: 143/76
- Before: 155/78 After: 147/82
- Before: 145/83 After: 130/72
These 3 readings only represent a snap-shot of over a year’s worth of data but the message is very clear – exercise can reduce blood pressure in a short space of time. When I’m asking my clients to do side lunges, then throw a flurry of punches at some pads, they don’t really have time to worry about their next business deadline! Exercise is clearly a fantastic way to clear the mind and reduce the stress.
(A blood pressure reading is made up of the systolic (first figure) and diastolic (second figure) measures. The systolic indicates the blood pressure when the heart contracts. The diastolic indicates the blood pressure when the heart is relaxed. A healthy range for adults in the UK is considered to be below 120/80. Good quality blood pressure machines can be purchased from most UK chemists for as little as £10.)
David Bowie, owner of Healthy Fit Life, is a mobile personal trainer and sports massage therapist working in the Farnham and Camberley area.