What is blood pressure?
Blood pressure is a measure of the force that your heart uses to pump blood around your body.
Ideally, we should have blood pressure reading between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg. If you’ve been told you have high blood pressure, your readings will consistently be 140/90mmHg or higher.
If your blood pressure is too high, it puts extra strain on your heart and blood vessels. This can lead to a number of health problems including heart attacks, stroke, kidney disease and some forms of dementia.
How can exercise help?
When you first start exercising, blood pressure will increase as workload increases. However, this will trigger a response to dilate (open up) the blood vessels, reducing blood pressure and allowing more blood to flow to your working muscles.
In the long run, the correct type of exercise can promote growth of new blood vessels in muscles by expanding the network of capillaries. If we think of our circulatory system as a network of roads with a set number of cars on, the more roads we build, the more space the cars have to travel, and congestion or ‘pressure’ is reduced.
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