Tag: Heart Health

High Blood Pressure: Hypertension 101

Most of us have heard the words “high blood pressure” or “hypertension,” but few of us know what it actually means to have it.

Blood Pressure is the force of blood exerted against the artery walls as the heart contracts and relaxes. One in three adults in the United States has high blood pressure, which is dangerous if not taken care of properly. High Blood Pressure can lead to Heart Disease, Heart Failure, Stroke, Kidney Failure and more. Below is a chart of normal to high blood pressure readings:

If you are one who has high blood pressure, a few ways to keep it lowered are regular exercise, decreased sodium intake, and keeping a healthy weight. Exercise is the greatest way to strengthen the human heart. When the heart starts to strengthen, it pumps more blood with less effort. The less effort it takes to pump blood to and from the heart, the greater decrease of force put on your arteries. All in all, the less overall force put upon your arteries, the lower your blood pressure is going to be.
Anyone can develop high blood pressure, but you are more at risk if you:

  • Are over 45 years old
  • Are overweight
  • Are African American
  • Have a family member with high blood pressure
  • Eat a diet high in salt
  • Drink too much alcohol
  • Smoke

High blood pressure doesn’t normally show any symptoms to the body to let you know you have it; therefore it is very important to get your blood pressure checked on a regular basis. The longer you have an elevated blood pressure, the more and worse damage it can do to your organs without you knowing. The best way to keep your blood pressure at a normal range is to exercise constantly and make it a routine; whether it is twice a week or six times a week.

My Story:
I went to the doctor one day for a check up and my resting blood pressure was 145/90, which is Stage one hypertension. My doctor thought it was just a weird fluke and therefore did not worry about it. I went into the same doctor two weeks later for a follow up and he checked my blood pressure again, which was 150/95. This is when he knew something was weird and not normal. He asked for me to keep track of my blood pressure for the next week (every day) and come back to him in a week to check in. My resting blood pressure readings were as high as 180/110, which is Stage two hypertension and very dangerous for a human heart and arteries if not taken care of. I went back in to see my doctor sooner than he had asked. I had developed high blood pressure at the age of 21 and several doctors had no clue why because of my health status and young age. I had plenty of tests done and finally was put onto a Beta-Blocker, which is used for individuals with hypertension. This medication is used to slow down the heart beat and relax the blood vessel walls. Two months later my resting blood pressure was back to its normal 118/78. I have always been active and continued to stay active during this. I believe that if I hadn’t been exercising on a regular basis, this could have turned out way worse than it did.

Top Reasons to Do Cardio Exercise

The best reason to do cardio is to make exercise throughout your daily life easier and to maintain a strong, healthy heart for your entire life.

Cardiovascular exercise is called cardio for a reason: because cardiovascular exercise primarily benefits the cardiovascular system. The primary function of the cardiovascular system is to deliver oxygen, nutrients, and hormones to the muscles. Large components of our cardiovascular system include the heart, blood, blood vessels (e.g. veins, arteries, capillaries), and the lungs. The more regular cardio we do, the better our cardiovascular system performs.

As we become more cardiovascularly fit, our heart becomes more muscular and stronger, our blood pressure improves, the amount of oxygen we can effectively utilize increases, and our resting heart rate decreases. In other words, cardiovascular work becomes easier, and we feel better.

Additionally cardio speeds our recovery from delayed-onset muscle soreness. By speeding the delivery of vital nutrients and hormones to the affected tissue as well as speeding the removal of lactic acid and muscle damage by-produces from the affected tissue, cardiovascular activity hastens the recovery process.

All that said, above all else we need to sustain a regular cardiovascular routine to maintain a healthy and fit cardiovascular system. If you have any questions on cardiovascular fitness or training please feel free to contact any one of our qualified personal fitness trainers or our fitness director Jacob Galloway.