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Blood Pressure

What is Blood Pressure?

Firstly, the heart is a muscle which is responsible for pumping blood through your circulatory system to supply the body with oxygen and nutrients. The left ventricle of the heart contracts and pumps blood into arteries which carry the oxygenated blood away from the heart and around the body. As the blood is pumped into the arteries it causes the blood to press up against the artery walls.

There are two measurements obtained when taking blood pressure, the systolic and diastolic. The systolic value refers to the pressure against the arteries walls when the left ventricle contracts and the blood is pushed around the body. The value is recorded when the pressure on the arteries walls is highest. Whereas, the diastolic value is the pressure on the arteries walls when the left ventricle is relaxed and filling with blood, the timebetween heart beats. Therefore, the systolic is the pressure on the walls ofthat arties when the heart beats and the diastolic is the pressure on thearteries walls when the heart relaxes. On the blood pressure reading the topnumber is the systolic and the bottom number is the diastolic. (Foundation, 2020; Agiovlasitis et al. 2018)

What is normal blood pressure?

The optimal blood pressure is 120/80 with the ACSM’s Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription classifying normal blood pressure as <120 systolic and <80 diastolic. If the readings range is over 120/80 it can be classified as normal to high range, pre-hypertensive or hypertension. The doctor will indicate what the optimal blood pressure is based on your individual health circumstance.

(Foundation, 2020; Agiovlasitis et al. 2018)

Figure: Shows the Blood Pressure Ranges and categories (Exercise and Hypertension Webinar",2020)

Factors that influence blood pressure

There are numerous factors that can cause blood pressure to fluctuate. Blood pressure varies throughout the day which can be due to body fluid levels, medications and activities completed during the day. These fluctuations are normal and your blood pressure should return to normal, if it doesn’t or you are concerned with abnormal reading please consult with your doctor. These are some factors that can influence blood pressure:
-         Age
-         Stress
-         Emotions
-         Weight
-         Physical activity levels

("Discover If It's Normalfor Your Blood Pressure to Fluctuate", 2020; Foundation, 2020)

Factors that increase Blood Pressure

There are a number of risk factors that increase the risk of having high blood pressure. These include both modifiable and non-modifiable factors such as:
-         Poor diet
-         Family history
-         Overweight/obesity
-         Age
-         Sedentary behaviour
-         Smoking
-         Physical activity levels
However, you can help control or prevent high blood pressure if you make healthy behavioural changes to your lifestyle.

("Discover If It's Normalfor Your Blood Pressure to Fluctuate", 2020; Foundation, 2020).

How can exercise help?

Exercise has been identified as an effective method to help reduce high blood pressure. This approach is non-pharmaceutical which assists individuals to make healthy behavioural changes and incorporate more physical activity into their lifestyle.

To assist in reducing high blood pressure (hypertension) the treatment needs to consider the following:

Frequency: Individuals should complete three - five session per week.

Intensity: Varies between individuals and need to take into consideration health circumstances and fitness levels. The intensity must be prescribed at an appropriate level to provide a physiological adaptation.

Time: The sessions duration will also be dependent on the individual but usually ranges between 20-60 minutes.

Type: The predominate type of exercise is aerobic training however, resistance training can also be incorporated into the exercise program. If you are unsure of the appropriate training please consult with an appropriate health professional prior to commencing an exercise program.  
("Exercise inHypertension", 2020)

How to get started?

If you have high blood pressure or want to help prevent high blood pressure but you are unsure of what the most appropriate exercise prescription for you is get in contact with us on 1300 869 169 or email us at

We can assist in developing a safe tailored exerciseprogram specific to you.  


Exercise and Hypertension Webinar. (2020). Retrieved 28 January 2020, from

Exercise in Hypertension.(2020). Retrieved 30 January 2020, from  

Discover If It's Normal for Your Blood Pressure to Fluctuate. (2020). Retrieved 30 January 2020, from

Foundation, T. (2020). Is my blood pressure normal?. Retrieved 30 January 2020, from

Agiovlasitis, S., Riebe, D.,Ehrman, J., Liguori, G., & Magal, M. (2018). ACSM's guidelines forexercise testing and prescription. Philadelphia [i pozostałe]: WoltersKluwer.  

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