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Blood Pressure



Blood Pressure

Having a high blood pressure greatly increases your chances of having a heart attack or stroke. Exercise is one way in which we can help lower and control blood pressure. If we are performing resistance exercises it is always important to breathe through each rep, holding our breath can increase our blood pressure. It does not matter when you breath so long as you breathe on each rep. Most people generally breath in when lowering a weight and breath out when lifting the weight. It is reported by the British Heart Foundation that 1/3 people in England and Scotland have high blood pressure.

Blood pressure is the pressure of the blood in our arteries as the heart beats. We have two points during the beating cycle when it relaxes to allow blood to enter/drawn into the arteries (Diastolic), and when the arteries contract (Systolic).

Systolic - is the highest level your blood pressure reaches. This is when your heart contracts and blood is forced through the arteries.

Diastolic - is the lowest level your blood pressure reaches. This is when your heart relaxes between each beat.

Blood pressure is measured as millimetres of mercury and a recommended target is 120 / 80 mmHg. When you have your blood pressure monitored you may have high blood pressure if it is 140 / 90. If you have previously had a stroke or cardiovascular disease the target is below 130 / 80.

Some contributing risk factors to high blood pressure include:

Not doing enough physical activity


Too musch salt in your diet

Being overweight or obese

Family genres – if one or both of your parents have high blood pressure your chances are increased

Low Blood pressure – hypotension – is a reading of 90/60 mmHg. At present there are no major factors associated with low blood pressure, in fact those with low blood pressure, on average, live longer than those with high or even normal blood pressure. Low blood pressure can cause dizziness or fainting. Postural hypotension is when we go from sitting to standing and your blood pressure drops causing dizziness or fainting.

Blood pressure changes through the day with the morning being higher than the evening. Blood pressure can change temporarily through stress, or even ‘white coat syndrome’ where we are nervous of seeing the doctor.

Exercise also changes our blood pressure. With maximal aerobic exercise, systolic pressure can rise to as much as 220 – 260 mmHg. Your diastolic pressure remains the same or decreases slightly.