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27 Jul 2007

Exercise with high BP
Hello. I am a 22 year old female at 5'4'' tall and 183 lbs. My blood pressure was taken today and was 141/100. I know this is extremely high. I have social anxiety disorder and am always worrying about things. I know this does not help my BP, but I have also heard that it may be from me not exercising and being overweight. Is this true? If so, what kind of exercises can I do to get started exercising without damaging myself? I have a stationary bike at home but that is all. If that will help, how often should I ride it? I tried posting this message to the heart doc but the forum was down. I would appreciate any information you can give me. Thank you for your time.
Answer 4,333 views

01 Jan 0001

Inactivity and being overweight can certainly contribute to high blood pressure. Getting active is also an effective means of reducing blood pressure, so I think that on both counts, you will benefit from more regular exercise.

In terms of the type of exercise, blood pressure is helped most by cardiovascular exercise (as opposed to resistance training, or weight training). Cardio means things like cycling, running, swimming etc. So the exercise bike you have is fine, and now it’s just a case of making use of it. I would suggest that to begin with, you aim for a moderate to easy ride, of about 20 to 30 minutes, three times a week. Don’t ride to exhaustion, don’t push super hard, just get the time under your belt. It is difficult at first, but you have to just push beyond that, and then it will get easier much faster and you’ll feel the difference. I’d say for about two weeks, that should be the plan, and then you can assess and see if you can increase this. Ideally, what you are aiming for is four or five days a week, where you train for 40 to 45 minutes at a time. But that’s what you build up towards. The other word of advice is to look at other forms of exercise – perhaps you can go for a walk once or twice a week instead of cycling – the variety is really important. And I know from experience that training from your own home is often very difficult because it becomes routine and boring. So if you can mix it up with some walking, then cycling, that will help you in the long term.

So that’s my advice, cycle 3 times a week, 30 minutes at a time, and just take it easy – you should finish feeling tired, breathing quite hard, but not to the point where you have to grimace just to turn the pedals – this is not the Tour de France!

Good luck
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