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Hypertension Community
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Can blood pressure by controlled by exercise alone?

You read about exercise like it is medicine.  That you can simply do some type of exercise for 30 minutes a day for 5 weeks and your blood pressure should be controlled.  Is this really the case for anyone?
3 Responses
Avatar universal
A 2019 article in the British Journal of Sports Medicine (https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/53/14/859) attempted to address this question. This meta-analysis found that antihypertensive drugs were more effective in lowering blood pressure than structured exercise in the case of the general population. However, when looking specifically at people with high blood pressure, the meta-analysis found that exercise was as effective as most blood-lowering medication. However, the study authors advise against giving up on antihypertensive medication and replacing it with exercise.

The classification and treatment of hypertension is a constantly evolving topic. Please refer to the latest AHA/ACC guidelines on when to treat hypertension with nonpharmacologic and pharmacologic therapy.
2 Comments
Thank you for your response.  I am trying to keep my blood pressure low.  Not high enough to have my doctor prescribe medications but we are watching it.  I then start to struggle with pressure to get this exercise in.  And eating right and all of the other things I need to do to take care of myself.  It is more worth it if I feel like it's not for 'nothing', if that makes sense.  Do I really have a chance of controlling blood pressure this way verses going straight to medication?  
Nonpharmacologic interventions to reduce blood pressure include: weight loss for overweight or obese patients with a heart healthy diet, sodium restriction, and potassium supplementation within the diet; and increased physical activity with a structured exercise program. See Table 15 in article linked below for approximate impact on systolic blood pressure.

Source: https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/HYP.0000000000000065
Avatar universal
Hi, specialmom! If you can take care of your blood pressure without having to take medicine...it is soooo worth it! Most of the medications have side affects that don't help you feel better. Personally, my doctor had me try one medication that put my body in so much pain I said no way! to any more after just one pill!

It sounds like you are really on the right tract, but are nervous or stressed about getting time for all the self-care. In my opinion, relax. Find a way to form a habit of when you exercise. it doesn't have to be 30 minutes all at once. Break it up over the day.

So many things go into lowering blood pressure. Eating healthy foods is one, but look for recipes that aren't pre-packaged, since they include a lot of sodium usually. Try to keep sodium levels around 1500 mg daily. It's easier than you might think, and food can still be delicious! Get enough sleep, and most of all...take time to relax. At least enough time for a few body-relaxing deep breaths in and out.

Believe me it's worth it. My blood pressure has been under control for over 10 years now with no medicine. You just need to create some healthy habits & relax. That makes a world of difference!

Good luck!

P..S. You may like an article about it on my blog: https://www.bloodpressuretreatmentblog.com/2014/04/what-it-takes-to-control-your-blood.html
Avatar universal
Becoming more active can lower your systolic blood pressure — the top number in a blood pressure reading — by an average of 4 to 9 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). That's as good as some blood pressure medications. For some people, getting some exercise is enough to reduce the need for blood pressure medication.
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