Blood pressure numbers that are at or below 120/80 mm Hg are considered normal. During exercise, your systolic blood pressure may be temporarily elevated by 20 to 30 mm Hg but then come down within a few minutes after your workout is done.
Studies show that a very fit person who exercises regularly will have a lower resting blood pressure (usually below 120/80 mm Hg) than someone who leads a sedentary lifestyle.
How does regular exercise lower your blood pressure?
Regular physical activity can strengthen your heart. When your heart is stronger, it can pump more blood without less effort.
Adding moderate physical activities to your daily routine can therefore help you keep your blood pressure healthy.
How much exercise do you need?
The American Heart Association recommends getting at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise a week. If you have a sedentary lifestyle, you should aim for at least 5-10 minutes low-intensity physical exercise a day.
Moderate physical activities that can increase your heart and breathing rates and lower your blood pressure include:
What is normal blood pressure by age?
The charts below show normal blood pressure levels by age and gender:
- Systolic blood pressure (SBP) = the upper number
- Diastolic blood pressure (DBP) = the lower number
Can lifestyle changes help you maintain normal blood pressure?
In addition to regular physical exercise, a few lifestyle changes can help you maintain healthy blood pressure levels:
- Quit smoking.
- Lose weight or maintain a healthy body weight.
- Avoid alcohol or at least limit your intake to one drink (30 milliliters) a day.
- Cut back on caffeine.
- Eat a low-sodium, low-fat diet, such as the DASH (dietary approach to stop hypertension) diet which contains less than 1500 milligrams of salt a day.
- Eat foods rich in potassium, magnesium and calcium, such as bananas, milk and nuts.
- Avoid stress and practice stress-reduction techniques like mindful meditation.
- Regularly monitor your blood pressure after the age of 35.
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Harvard Health Publishing. Ask the Doctor: Are My Blood Pressure and Heart Rate Changing Normally During Exercise? https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/are-my-blood-pressure-and-heart-rate-changing-normally-during-exercise
Lin JD, Chen YL, Wu CZ, et al. Identification of Normal Blood Pressure in Different Age Group [published correction appears in Medicine (Baltimore). 2018 May;97(18):e0685] [published correction appears in Medicine (Baltimore). 2016 Jun 24;95(25):e6777]. Medicine (Baltimore). 2016;95(14):e3188. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4998762/