Summer Activities That Will Help Reduce Your Blood Pressure
Summer has arrived, and it’s the perfect time to start an exercise routine. Sunlight increases the production of the hormone serotonin, which can improve your mood and provide a positive attitude to enjoying physical activities. Regular exercise, along with following a heart-healthy diet, can improve your heart health. A variety of outdoor activities can help lower your blood pressure. Let’s see how outdoor activities can have a positive effect on your blood pressure.
The Connection between Exercise and Blood Pressure
Exercise is a vital part of maintaining heart health because regular physical activity makes your heart stronger. The stronger your heart is, the less effort it takes for it to pump blood through your body’s system of blood vessels. As a result, blood flows through your arteries with less force, which lowers your blood pressure.
The American Heart Association recommends getting at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 70 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity per week. Any activity that increases your heart rate is considered an aerobic activity. The talk test is the easiest way to measure exercise intensity. During moderate-level intensity, you can talk but not sing. During vigorous-level intensity, you can’t speak more than a few words without pausing to take a breath. As a comparison, riding a bicycle slower than 10 miles per hour on flat terrain is moderate aerobic activity, but pedaling faster than 10 miles an hour or climbing hills is a vigorous aerobic activity.
Heart-Smart Summer Activities
In addition to helping lower your blood pressure, exercise will give you more energy, ease stress, and make you feel better. If you’re not already physically active, it’s a good idea to check with your doctor first for advice and to make sure you’re ready for exercise.
With summer in full swing, finding outdoor activities that will get you breathing harder and your heart beating faster is a breeze. Let’s take a look at how some popular fun outdoor activities can lower your blood pressure.
1. Walking: Taking a walk is a great aerobic activity to keep your heart healthy, and it doesn’t require any equipment beyond a good pair of walking shoes. It’s also a great year-round activity, especially in summer when you can take a walk in a city park, along a beach, or in other natural areas. Simply walking two miles a day does as much for your cardiovascular system as working out and breaking a sweat
You can even turn it up a notch and take a hike in a state park, national park, or other nature preserve. Along the way, you may hear bird songs and other nature sounds that will have a calming effect. Studies have shown that people who visit parks for 30 minutes or more each week are less likely to have high blood pressure or heart disease. Other health benefits include reducing stress, anxiety, and depression.
2. Cycling: Cycling provides a great aerobic lower-body workout, improves your cardiovascular health, reduces stress, and boosts your mood. It’s a good option if you have joint pain. It’s also an excellent group activity to share with friends and family.
3. Swimming: Swimming is a great low-impact aerobic exercise that helps you stay fit without straining your body. It also increases muscle strength, increases flexibility, and reduces stress. Swimming outdoors is a good way to get started, and then you can continue your swimming routine by moving to an indoor pool when the weather turns colder.
4. Paddling: For many people, there’s nothing more relaxing than being out on the water in a rowboat, kayak, or canoe. In addition to letting you enjoy the peace and serenity of the water, paddling provides a low-impact aerobic workout that strengthens your upper body, core, and legs.
5. Yoga: With outdoor yoga, you can get an aerobic mind-body workout while enjoying the fresh air. By regularly practicing yoga, you can improve flexibility, relieve stress, and lower your blood pressure. Check out the offerings of local yoga studios and community organizations to find outdoor yoga classes in your area.
Keep Track of Your Heart Health
The warm, sunny summer months provide a golden opportunity to get outside and get your body moving. Whether you’re walking, cycling, swimming, paddling, or enjoying yoga, you’ll be getting aerobic exercise that will improve your cardiovascular health. One way to monitor the progress of your fitness routine is by keeping track of how many steps you take each day. Heart Club, our free cardiologist-designed app includes a step counter to track your distance. It also enables you to record your blood pressure and gives you access to important medical information — all on your phone.