Effects of exercise on blood pressure

Aerobic activities such as swimming, cycling, and running put additional demands on your cardiovascular system. Your muscles need more oxygen than they do when you’re at rest, so you have to breathe more quickly.

Your heart starts to pump harder and faster to circulate blood to deliver oxygen to your muscles. As a result, systolic blood pressure rises.

It’s normal for systolic blood pressure to rise to between 160 and 220 mm Hg during exercise. Unless you’ve cleared it with your doctor, stop exercising if your systolic blood pressure surpasses 200 mm Hg. Beyond 220 mm Hg, your risk of a heart problem increases.

Different factors can influence how your cardiovascular system responds to exercise. Some of these factors include diet, medical conditions, and medications.

For instance, exercise hypertension is a condition that causes an extreme spike in blood pressure during physical activity. People with exercise hypertension can experience spikes in systolic blood pressure up to 250 mm Hg during exercise.

In general, your blood pressure should return to normal within several hours of a workout. Even then, you might notice that your blood pressure doesn’t return to exactly what it was before exercise. That’s because it’s normal for blood pressure to drop slightly within a few hours of exercise.

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