Training with Hypertension
If you have hypertension, check out what the research says about how you should strength training safely?
The American Heart Association (AHA) categorizes Stage 1 Hypertension (HTN) (abnormally high blood pressure) as 130-139 over 80-89. According to the CDC approximately 29% of American adults have high blood pressure! In addition, HTN is the leading cause of mortality in the US.
So, how does exercise relate to this widespread & deadly affliction?
- Exercise increases our blood pressure. In people with HTN, exercise has been shown to increase the risk of a cardiovascular (CVD) event during or soon after exertion in young subjects & adults with CVD. Also, the relative risk of cardiac arrest was greater during exercise than at rest for all levels of physical activity in hypertensive patients.
This all sounds pretty terrible for exercise with HTN, huh?
- But don’t worry! Although these risks may be heightened, the overall benefits of exercise on our health far outweigh these risks! Furthermore, there is a way that we can train smarter in order to limit how much our blood pressure increases!
The key is eccentric! Eccentric contraction is the motion of an active muscle when its lengthening under a load from its contracted state. For example, starting a pull-up at the top & slowly lowering yourself️. Studies have shown that eccentrics result in a lower cardiac index, peak systolic blood pressure, & heart rate at similar workloads when compared to concentric (ex. pulling yourself up)!
By using eccentrics in our training, we can lessen the effect of blood pressure on our ️heart, making it safer to train with hypertension! Make sure you know your blood pressure so you can train appropriately.