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Cardiovascular Exercise, Heart Health & Blood Pressure

There are numerous studies showing positive effect cardiovascular exercise has on heart health. Click on the photo below to revisit my post from last year discussing the benefits and recommended guidelines for cardiovascular activity:

One benefit of cardiovascular activity is improving blood pressure, but if you are exercising and have high blood pressure, here are some recommended considerations by ACSM (1):

  • Always consult your physician or healthcare provider before starting a workout program to determine if it is right for you, especially if you have severe or uncontrolled blood pressure

  • Vigorous intensity exercise should be initiated in a rehabilitation center or under medical supervision if you have cardiovascular diseases (CVD), such as ischemic heart disease, heart failure, or stroke.

  • Be aware of the effects of your medications- some beta blockers can effect your heart rate, reducing your sub maximal & maximal capacity. Use the Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) scale instead of heart rate when exercising.

  • Some beta blockers and diuretics also can cause hypoglycemia (because of an adverse affect on thermoregulation). ...educate patients about the signs and symptoms of heat intolerance (6,11) and hypoglycemia

  • Be aware that there is a phenomenon called Post-exercise Hypotension, which is an immediate blood pressure lowering effect from aerobic exercise.

  • A sudden drop in post exercise blood pressure can occur when taking some medications, such as, beta blockers, calcium channel blockers, & vasodilators.

  • Avoid the Valsalva maneuver, inhaling and holding your breath, as it can result in an extremely high blood pressure, dizziness, and even fainting.


1. Liguori, Gary. ACSM's Guidelines fo rExercise Testing and Prescription 11th edition. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2000.

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