Want to know about fluctuations in blood pressure during exercise?
Blood pressure is never steady, it constantly rises and falls in accordance with the pumping action of the heart and signals from the brain. The heart contracts and pushes the blood into the arteries resulting in rise in blood pressure. When the pressure is at its height, it is called systolic blood pressure. The heart then relaxes so that chambers in the heart fill with blood, leading to a fall in blood pressure. Blood pressure noted as the lowest is called diastolic blood pressure. A sudden and steep rise in blood pressure during exercise may be considered as an early indication of serious artery disease.
Normal Blood Pressure
Blood pressure around 120 mm Hg/80 mm Hg is considered as normal blood pressure, where 120 is the systolic blood pressure and 80 is the diastolic blood pressure. Healthy or ideal blood pressure range varies from person to person depending upon the age of the person and his/her profession or physical activities. Blood pressure falling in the range of 90/60 mm Hg to 130/80 mm Hg is considered to be normal blood pressure range.
High Blood Pressure during Exercise
Regular exercises help to lower the increased blood pressure in the long term. But, during workouts, it is commonly noticed that the blood pressure increases to 195/75, from 120/80 marked during the resting period. More rise in blood pressure will be noticed in an overweight person than in a normal weight person. Blood pressure range of 160 to 220/75 is considered as normal range of increase.
During exertion exercises like weight lifting, due to muscle constriction, there is reduced supply of oxygen. High blood pressure is noticed as the muscles and organs require extra oxygen-rich blood during exercise. Such high blood pressure associated with exertion can even cause heart attack or stroke. This situation of high blood pressure during exercise can be worsened by caffeine, stimulants like cocaine or methamphetamines and consumption of some medications. You should immediately stop exercising if you feel like fainting. Abnormally high blood pressure levels in response to exercise occur usually due to the poorer ability of the blood vessels to expand. Aging, menopause, high cholesterol levels, smoking and diabetes are some of the other common causes of high blood pressure during exercise.
Diastolic Blood Pressure during Exercise
Elevated diastolic pressure during exercise can create complications for the person. Usually, the diastolic rate varies minimally during workouts. If an increases of 20 mm Hg above resting value is noticed in the diastolic pressure or if the diastolic pressure reaches 100 mm Hg, you should immediately stop exercising. Diastolic blood pressure during exercise rises significantly in patients with hypercholesterolemia or in patients with coronary artery disease. A diastolic blood pressure range of 85 – 89 is a cause for concern, but diastolic blood pressure over 90 is considered as ‘high and risky’. A diastolic reading below 80 is ideal while reading above 90 indicates hypertension. Diastolic reading between 90 and 99 is considered stage 1, 100 or over is stage 2 and anything over 109 is considered stage 3. Due to hypertension, heart requires more energy to pump the blood to the body. This can even lead to congestive heart failure.
Exercise makes you sweat. Releasing water and salt as you sweat, reduces blood pressure. Thus, exercise only can help alleviate this problem. Both the systolic and the diastolic blood pressures should decrease over time with consistent exercise.
Only ‘regular exercising’ can help you avoid abnormal blood pressure during exercise. Exercise helps you gain muscle and muscle burns fat. More muscle implies faster metabolism which can lead to more calorie-burning. You can burn more calories throughout the day, even while you’re at rest.
Always monitor blood pressure during exercise. A rise in blood pressure during exercise may be an alarming sign to make you aware of the fact that your resting blood pressure may also increase. Take care!