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Exercise Lowers Risk of Hypertension


Posted by Nirmala N.

According to researchers at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, exercising in your early 20s could be helpful in preventing high blood pressure for years to come. A study that tracked almost 4,000 men and women for 15 years discovered that 634 of the participants developed high blood pressure, but the ones who exercised an average of five times a week were 17 percent less likely to. In addition, those who increased their rate of exercise during the study effectively decreased the risk of high blood pressure by 100 percent per 1,500 calories burned.
 
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How true it is and to convince other readers to take notice, I will tell you my personal story.

About fifteen years ago I would be in the doctor’s three to four times a year because of a racing heart beat and fear of having a heart attack. Needless to say the EKG confirmed it was not a heart attack but hypertension. The doctor put me on beta-blocker medication and sent me on the way. During my annual check up, he reviewed my progress to date and problems with hypertension and elevated blood pressure. Needles to say, he highly recommended I start a regular exercise program by going to the gym for a half hour workout on the treadmill.

Having been convinced that I needed to do this, I picked a small gym, where I met a physical trainer who had studied and graduated in this field, to show me how to use the equipment. If you have never been on a treadmill, it is not like walking on the sidewalk, you have to get the hang of it. It seemed like I held on for dear life. Once I got the basics, the trainer would increase the speed and frequently started to raise the elevation to get a more intense workout.

At first it was awkward and quickly my macho feelings turned into perspiration and at times I walked funny as he had worked some muscles I did not even know I had. I kept up this practice of three one-hour workouts per week for a couple of years. This resulted in much more toned muscles, slimmer waistline, better pace and just having that great feeling and knowing the difference it made in my life. Also, at this point I was no longer taking any medication for hypertension, and did not have the escalated heart rate episodes prior to starting my exercise program.

Years passed and kept up my workouts on my own and at times reenlisted my favorite trainer to work on a specific problem such as strengthening the back muscles.

A few months ago, I had another follow up ultra sound of my heart muscle that measures the thickness of the wall. I was pleasantly surprised when informed that the results have improved over my prior reading due to exercise. The aim is to keep the wall normal and not have it thicker than needed, which can result or contribute to heart attacks.

So I am living proof that exercise can control hypertension and improve overall health.

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