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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    How do exercise and diet help regulate high blood pressure?

    My fathers blood pressure is through the roof and my family and I are determined to help him. How does the right diet and regular exercise regulate blood pressure? Are there any exercises he should avoid?
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  • 1


    Angela Peris

    Registered Nurse

    I am passionate about helping people with Health and Wellbeing - with extensive knowledge and skills on cardiology and critical care nursing I have published … View Profile

    There are many reasons for high blood pressure. Without knowing what your fathers ‘situation’ .. I would generally recommend a few approaches to keep his blood pressure under control.
    1) Maintain normal body weight - 
           a) Regular walking - for at least 20 - 30 mins /day for 4-5 days /wk
           b) Review his food intake - reduce fatty / processed foods. Increase fresh fruits /
                vegatable. Avoid fried and baked food. Reduce alcohol intake.
           c) Start the day with a glass of water and a light breakfast - to increrase mebolism.

    2) Manage stress - 
          a)  avoid stressful situations
          b)  review lifetsyle and work conditions
          c)  Learn to relax and stay calm

    3) Reduce salt intake - ( salt can retain water and increase bloood volume and hence make the   
         heart work harder.

    Try these and see how he is. Walking in the morning and taking deep breaths can help relax and stay clam. It is not necessary to do vigerous exercises or go to the gym and do workouts.

    Please write back and share your results.

    Best wishes

  • 3


    Elodie Williams

    Exercise Physiologist

    I am passionate about the use of exercise to help prevent and manage chronic disease and conditions. I have been working with older adults for … View Profile

    To add to Angela's post -

    The DASH diet ( is an excellent resource for helping to lower blood pressure through diet.

    In terms of exercise - as mentioned above, aerobic exercise (walking, swimming, cycling etc) - exercises that use large muscle groups in a continuous fashion are the best for lowering blood pressure. After 3 months of a regular exercise you can see a drop in systolic blood pressure of up to 5-7mmHg, this in tern reduces all cause mortality, death due to stroke and coronary artery disease (ESSA Position Stand by J Shaman & M Stowasser, 2009)

    Exercises to avoid - high intensity resistance exercises, especially overhead lifting should be avoided. And if doing resistance training valsalva (breath holding) should be avoided as this not only increases blood pressure but also intra-abdominal pressure. However, I would not start any resistance training or vigorous exercise until they have been screened by a  qualified health professional.

    As Angela already stated, walking would be a good start.

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