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Blood pressure and exercise

Blood pressure and exercise


If you have high blood pressure, your doctor or nurse may suggest that you try to become more active to lower it. However, you may be worried that regular exercise will increase your blood pressure to dangerous levels.

It is true that physical activity (exercise) will cause your blood pressure to rise for a short time. However, when you stop the activity, your blood pressure should soon return to normal. The quicker it does this, the fitter you are likely to be.

Most people with high blood pressure should be able to increase their physical activity levels quite safely.

However, if your blood pressure is relatively high, your doctor or nurse may prefer to lower it with medicines before starting you on an exercise programme. If your blood pressure is very high, you should not start any new activity without consulting your doctor.

The table below gives a general idea of what levels you need to be concerned about, but bear in mind that every person is different, and your doctor or nurse may decide differently.

Blood pressure level General ability to be more active 
Below 90/60You may have low blood pressure, speak to your doctor or nurse before starting any new exercise

90/60-140/90

It is safe to be more active, and it will help to keep your blood pressure in this ideal blood pressure range

140/90 – 179/99 

It should be safe to start increasing your physical activity to help lower your high blood pressure
180/100 – 199/109 Speak to your doctor or nurse before starting any new exercise 
200/110 or above Do not start any new activity – speak to your doctor or nurse 

To be safe, it is always a good idea to get advice from your doctor or nurse before you start any new physical activity.


Exercise, activity and blood pressure

Our new booklet gives you practical information on how to lower your blood pressure by taking regular exercise, getting more active and keeping to a healthy weight. It has been written with help from people who have high blood pressure, and from professionals who are experts in the field.

Exercise, activity and blood pressure (168.04 Kb)


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