A peer-reviewed study published in the Journal of Cardiovascular Development and Disease has found that walking can significantly reduce blood pressure in elderly patients suffering from hypertension.
The study performed by Linda Pescatello, professor of kinesiology in UConn’s College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources, confirmed what earlier studies had discovered in Indonesian patients.
High blood pressure is common among Canadian adults. Data taken between 2016 and 2019 reveals hypertension is found in all ages from people in their 20s to the late 70s.
Hypertension is usually the result of poor lifestyle choices, namely a poor diet and insufficient exercise. Walking can help lower high blood pressure by encouraging you to engage in exercise more often.
Walking is a low or moderate-intensity activity depending on the speed you walk. The faster, the better. Brisk walking is known to reduce stress levels which contribute to high blood pressure, but also helps to regulate blood flow.
As a matter of fact, brisk walking can help you lower blood pressure in a number of ways.
How Does Walking Lower Blood Pressure?
Brisk walking increases your heart rate and breathing. Regular aerobic exercise strengthens the heart and improves its ability to pump blood, which can contribute to lower blood pressure.
Improved blood flow is made possible because physical activity enhances the function of the endothelium—the inner lining of blood vessels. Improved endothelial function helps regulate blood flow and maintain healthy blood pressure levels.
A brisk walking program, in which your exercise routine is structured and regular, can also contribute to weight loss or weight maintenance. Excess body weight is often associated with hypertension (high blood pressure).
Walking has also been associated with a decrease in sympathetic nervous system activity. The sympathetic nervous system is responsible for the “fight or flight” response, and overactivity can contribute to elevated blood pressure.
Moreover, regular physical activity helps to improve sleep quality. Poor sleep has been linked to hypertension, so getting a quality rest whilst you sleep can contribute to lower blood pressure.
Walking has also been shown to help lower levels of LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol, commonly known as “bad” cholesterol. High cholesterol is a risk factor for cardiovascular diseases, including hypertension.
In addition, chronic inflammation is associated with hypertension. Walking reduces inflammation and improves cardiovascular fitness and efficiency. A stronger cardiovascular system is better equipped to regulate blood pressure within a healthy range.
It’s important to note that the positive effects of walking on blood pressure are often associated with consistency and regularity. Incorporating walking into your routine several times a week, along with adopting a healthy lifestyle that includes a balanced diet and stress management, can contribute to better blood pressure control.
Before starting a new exercise program, especially if you have existing health conditions, it’s advisable to consult with a healthcare professional to ensure that the chosen activity is safe and suitable for your individual circumstances.