One of the best ways to get in some exercise is by going for a walk. It can be done at any time and in practically any location without any preparation or specific gear. Does it actually affect blood pressure, though? Here we will examine the studies done on the link between walking and lowered blood pressure.
Will Walking Lower Blood Pressure?
Let’s begin with the fundamentals of blood pressure. What we mean when we talk about blood pressure is the pressure that the blood exerts against the artery walls. Consistently high blood pressure can weaken the artery walls, which in turn can lead to an increased chance of cardiovascular disease and stroke. Systolic blood pressure (the top number) of less than 120 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) of less than 80 mmHg are considered to be within the normal range.
Exercising regularly has been demonstrated to reduce blood pressure in a number of studies. And does walking in particular have an effect, and how much activity is required? Adults should engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week, or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity per week, or a combination of the two, as recommended by the American Heart Association. Moderate-intensity exercise includes walking, which should raise your heart rate and make you sweat but leave you able to keep up a conversation.
It was shown in a 2013 study published in the journal Hypertension that walking significantly lowered participants’ blood pressure. Throughout the course of 24 weeks, researchers monitored 579 hypertensive people. There were three groups of participants: one walked for 10,000 steps each day, another for 5,000, and the third did nothing to increase their activity levels. When compared to the control group, the systolic blood pressures of the two walking groups dropped significantly; however, the group that averaged 10,000 steps daily had the highest reduction.
The effects of a single 30-minute walk on blood pressure were examined in a 2015 study that was published in the Journal of Hypertension. Research shows that even just 30 minutes of walking can have positive effects on blood pressure for up to 24 hours afterwards.
Thus, why does walking lower blood pressure? One explanation is that regular exercise strengthens the heart and blood arteries, making the circulatory system more effective and reducing pressure on the arterial walls. High blood pressure is exacerbated by inflammation, which can be reduced by exercise.
It’s possible that walking won’t be enough to bring down blood pressure in some people. Salt restriction, smoking cessation, and stress management are just a few examples of possible recommended lifestyle adjustments. Medication is sometimes necessary for the treatment and control of hypertension.
Walking has been shown to have beneficial effects on blood pressure. Moderate-intensity exercise, such as walking, has been shown to improve cardiovascular health in numerous ways, including by lowering blood pressure, reducing inflammation, and strengthening the heart and blood vessels. Although though walking on its own might not be enough to bring down blood pressure in some people, it’s a terrific method to get some exercise every day and boost your heart’s health.