Your clients who are suffering from high blood pressure, aka hypertension, are not alone. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 29 percent of American adults have high blood pressure—"that's 1 in every 3 American adults." What's even more concerning is that hypertension is often referred to as the "silent killer," because it typically doesn't trigger any symptoms. But you can help.
Exercises for high blood pressure management
With the right preventative care, the hypertension epidemic can get under control. To support this effort, you can help your clients make exercise a habit to lower their blood pressure or decrease the risk altogether. But before you make any hasty decisions, encourage your client to consult with his or her physician before committing to a program. Since exercise is a proven method in lowering blood pressure, the physician will most likely be supportive of the client's effort to become or stay healthy, but we want to ensure you always take all of the necessary precautions before you dive right in.
Cardiovascular activity for weight management
Cardiovascular exercise can help those suffering from high blood pressure control it while also maintaining a healthy weight and reducing stress, two common culprits of the disease. If your clients are just taking charge of their physical activity levels, be sure to take it slow and encourage them to get moving with a low- to moderate-impact activity, including walking, jogging or rowing. From there, you can assess when they are ready to take it up a notch with a more physically intensive workout, such as HIIT.
Strength training for disease prevention
It's pretty well-established that we're huge advocates of strength training, primarily because it boosts the metabolism, supports weight-loss efforts and plays a vital role in the prevention of diseases such as hypertension.
And for those concerned about the connection between weightlifting and high blood pressure, fear not. Just ask the experts at Prevention: "Researchers found that resistance training helps regulate elevated blood pressure levels among hypertensive women. To reach that conclusion, a study team from several Brazilian universities asked 32 older women to train with weights three times a week for four months. At the end of the training period, resting systolic blood pressure levels dropped roughly 12%—from an average of 135 mmHg to a much healthier 120—among most participants. Diastolic blood pressure readings also dropped 5%, the study shows."
Yoga for stress relief
As we stated earlier, stress is a huge cause of hypertension in adults and there is no better way to bring your mind back to its most serene state than with yoga. "It pacifies the sympathetic nervous system and slows down the heart, while teaching the muscles and mind to relax deeply," says Maria Apt of Yoga International. "Research studies demonstrate that conscious breathing quickly lowers blood pressure." Certain poses or styles of yoga may support preventative-care efforts more than others—so be sure your client doesn't perform any poses that may put too much pressure on his or her body or make deep breathing a challenge.
Safety tips for your client
To ensure that your clients are exercising safely, educate them on the importance of the following tips: Use weights carefully, stop the activity if they feel any concerning discomfort, and exercise moderately and daily. Finally, remind them to avoid caffeine before their workouts if they already have high blood pressure.
Article Categories: Fitness, Personal Training, & Exercise Science