Can Diet and Exercise Reverse Hypertension?
In an interview with the Health Channel, Brian Betancourt, Exercise Physiologist at Baptist Health South Florida, discusses exercises that can help with high blood pressure and hypertension. Brian points out that exercise only helps with blood pressure when you exercise consistently. One workout session will not help your blood pressure.
Consistent exercise helps because it uses eicosanoids which are hormones that relax the arteries. Brian says that while you are exercising though, your blood pressure will rise but it depends on the exercise you are doing. “Let’s say you’re going to do cardio exercise like biking, walking, running, swimming, your systolic blood pressure is going to go up and the diastolic one is going to go down during the activity,” Brian explains. Your blood pressure lowers after exercise because that is when the eicosanoids are in effect and relax your arteries.
Systolic blood pressure is the pressure caused by your heart contracting. The diastolic number comes from when your heart is relaxed and is taking in blood This is why cardiovascular activities produce high systolic blood pressure numbers due to the fact that your heart is squeezing more. The diastolic numbers go down because your heart requires more relaxation to take in blood.
Brian suggests an experiment people can try if they are suffering from hypertension, “Just walk for 30 or 45 minutes. Get home, relax, take your blood pressure. It should go down for a couple of days.” If you do this for a couple of days, Brian says these benefits will compound. “Then stop for a couple of days. You’re going to notice that when you stop, your blood pressure goes up, but when you’re active it goes down,” Brian explains, “It’s trying to tell you, ‘hey keep going’, because your heart likes exercise.”
Watch the full segment of Brian Betancourt talking about the benefits exercising has on blood pressure, here: https://youtu.be/RcvH1_hfqeg