050218 Blood Pressure Basics The effects of exercise on blood pressure

050218 Blood Pressure Basics The effects of exercise on blood pressure

By Danny M. O’Dell, M.A. CSCS

High blood pressure is the direct cause of thousands of needless deaths a year. Here are just a few of the facts about hypertension.

Dr. Laura Svetkey, director of the Duke Hypertension Center at Duke University states. “Americans can keep blood pressure low if they: keep trim, exercise, cut back on saturated fats, limit alcohol and sodium, increase dietary potassium and eat plenty of fruit and vegetables”. http://www.bupa.co.uk/

There are positive, and negative, effects on our blood pressure when we exercise or exert ourselves physically and/or mentally.

Blood pressure is the measure of the force of the blood pushing against the walls of the arteries. Hypertension is the medical term for high blood pressure. One in FIVE Americans has Hypertension. Many do not even know they have it, thus the term “the silent killer” It is not uncommon for young people to have hypertension.

Blood pressure is measured by stopping the blood flow for a few seconds and then beginning again. The amount of pressure the monitor detects accurately reflects the resistance your heart is pushing against each time it beats. The monitor works in the following fashion:

The arm cuff is placed on the upper arm or forearm. The brachial artery is then pinched off to stop the flow of blood. The circulation is briefly cut off, and then the air is let out of the cuff. The first heartbeat heard is the Systolic and the last one heard is the Diastolic.

Systolic pressure is the upper number in the formula

  • When the heart contracts to pump out the blood. Pressure is highest during this phase of the process

Diastolic pressure is the lower number.

  • The heart relaxes after pumping. Pressure drops to its lowest point just before a new beat.


Previously pressure readings below 130/85 were considered normal.

Previously readings above 130-139 over 85-89 were considered to be in the high normal range.

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