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Being inactive is linked to high blood pressure; therefore increasing your activity levels will reduce your blood pressure.
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 90/60||You may have low blood pressure, speak to your doctor or nurse before starting any new exercise|
|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.