As the name suggests, High blood pressure/ hypertension refers to a health condition in which the force of blood in the vessels stays consistently high. According to the CDC, over 70 million people in the USA, which is more than 30% of the country’s population, have hypertension. In most cases, this condition is hereditary and genetic. However, it can also be caused by inactivity, a high-sodium diet, or stimulants. More notably, this condition can cause damage to the heart and arteries with time, and other dangerous conditions like stroke and chronic disease.
On the bright side, there are many great ways of lowering your blood pressure such as reducing sodium intake and eating healthier. Moreover, performing exercises like treadmill training offer a distinct benefit for anyone who wants to keep their blood pressure levels steady.
In this guide, I’ll show you how treadmill training helps to lower the blood pressure. Even better, I’ll take you through some of the best treadmill workouts you can try if you’ve high blood pressure!
Let’s get into it!
How does treadmill training help to lower blood pressure?
Physical exercise is a great way to reduce your blood pressure or avoid getting hypertension in the first place. However, not all types of workouts are ideal for people with high blood pressure.
Interestingly, a low-impact aerobic workout like treadmill walking is an excellent way to ease into a more active lifestyle. Best of all, walking on a treadmill at a steady pace helps to regulate your blood pressure. This is particularly important when weather conditions like snow or rain prevent you from walking outdoors. Also, treadmill walking helps to alleviate stress, which according to the American Heart Association, is a risk factor for hypertension. At the same time, treadmill training helps to strengthen your heart for a drug-free approach to lowering high blood pressure. Other health benefits of exercising include reducing the levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol, decreased insulin resistance, and weight loss. In short, it will help you maintain a healthy weight, which positively affects your blood pressure.
Another benefit of running or walking on a treadmill is that it puts less stress on the body compared to running/ walking on a flat surface outside. In addition, treadmills provide the option for precise blood pressure and heart rate monitoring for patients suffering from these health conditions. As a result, patients can use this information to determine how many workouts they can handle and when to stop.
Treadmill training & blood pressure
In some instances, exercise can increase your blood pressure, although the effects are usually temporary. The blood pressure will slowly return to normal after completing your workout.
According to the CDC , the normal blood pressure shouldn’t exceed 120/80 mmHg. The top number (120 mm Hg) represents the systolic pressure reading, while the bottom number (80 mm Hg) represents the diastolic pressure reading. Systolic pressure measures the blood vessels’ pressure when the heart is beating, while diastolic pressure represents the blood vessel pressure between heartbeats. Exercise causes the systolic pressure to increase, but the diastolic pressure should not change significantly when working out. If it does, it’s highly recommended that you consult a doctor.
The level of blood pressure tends to vary from one individual to another. For that, it’s a bit difficult to say what blood pressure readings are healthy/ normal after exercise. All in all, any reading over 140/ 90 mmHg after resting for about 2 hours following a workout is considered high blood pressure. On the other hand, a pressure reading lower than 90/ 60 mmHg after a workout is considered low blood pressure.
Effects of treadmill workout on blood pressure
Aerobic activities like treadmill running put additional demands on the cardiovascular systems. As a result, your muscles require more oxygen than they do when you are resting, making you breathe more quickly. More importantly, the heart starts to pump faster and harder to supply oxygenated blood to the muscles, causing your systolic blood pressure to rise.
Typically, the systolic blood pressure increases to around 160 – 220 mm Hg during aerobic exercise. However, if your systolic pressure reading exceeds 200 mm Hg, stop exercising immediately. This is because the risk of heart problems tends to increase beyond 220 mm Hg.
Various factors influence how your cardiovascular system responds to treadmill training. These factors include; medications, diet, and health conditions. As an example, exercise hypertension causes an extreme increase in your blood pressure during a workout. People with this condition can experience an increase of up to 250 mm Hg in their systolic blood pressure during exercise.
However, as mentioned earlier, the blood pressure should return to normal within a few hours following a workout. Even then, the blood pressure might not return exactly to where it was before the workout. This is because the blood pressure normally drops slightly within a few hours of physical activity.
Best treadmill workout for lowering blood pressure
High blood pressure can lead to various health conditions like stroke, kidney damage, and heart disease. Unfortunately, most people don’t know they have HBP until they suffer these health complications. But, as I already mentioned, this condition is preventable through different methods like medication and regular exercise.
So, if you are at risk or have HBP, it’s safe to exercise to keep your blood level at healthy levels. Some of the best treadmill workouts that will help you to lower your blood pressure levels include;
- 30-minute treadmill walking
Walking for just 30 minutes on your home treadmill at moderate intensity every morning is as effective as medication at reducing your blood pressure. According to research, a short burst of treadmill walking workouts has long-lasting effects. In addition to lowering the blood pressure, regular treadmill exercise helps to reduce the risk of diabetes and high cholesterol.
Alternatively, you can perform a 10-minute brisk walk, 3 times a day. Brisk walking involves walking at a faster pace than you normally walk to raise your breathing and pulse rate. Besides, research shows that performing three 10-min walks a day is more effective at preventing future blood pressure spikes compared to doing one 30-minute walk per day. In another study published in the Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis & Vascular Biology journal, a moderate-intensity walk offers the same reductions in high blood pressure and high cholesterol as vigorous-intensity running.
Specifically, a treadmill walking workout reduces the stiffness of the blood vessels. This reduces the blood pressure to allow smooth blood flow. These effects are most noticeable immediately after or during a workout.
A treadmill workout is routine and consistent since you can set the pace before the walking starts to move. The exercise will make your heart muscles work harder than normal. This will make your heart stronger over time to help it pump blood with less effort. Also, exercise will help you to lose weight, which is always a good thing for your blood pressure and heart health. More importantly, regular exercise on a treadmill will help you to control the issue of high blood pressure over time.
So, if you’re serious about keeping your body healthy and blood pressure down, a treadmill is a great workout machine to use! However, make sure you discuss your need for a treadmill workout with your doctor. Also, consult your doctor first before you change your blood pressure medications.
Founder: Treadmill Express Plus