July 24, 2012
Exercise programme for hypertensive patients
C. Bard is a 32-year-old woman who is hypertensive and overweight. She lives near New Kingston and wants to start exercising regularly at the Emancipation Park to improve her health. Bard says that everyone vaguely hears about the benefits of regular exercise such as weight loss and improved heart function. She invites me to be more specific about why she should stick with an exercise programme. She is not really interested in serious exercise and would appreciate the encouragement.
High blood pressure is a major contributor to heart disease, and physical exercise is one way in which we can influence this outcome positively. Increased physical activity helps to reduce not only high blood pressure, but also reduces blood cholesterol levels, obesity, and helps to improve blood circulation to the tissues providing the heart with more oxygenated blood to allow for better performance of the heart muscles. Exercise also reduces the risk of developing type two diabetes, which is another risk factor for heart disease.
Other health factors that put the hypertensive individual at risk are diet and whether or not he or she smokes. Poor dietary choices and tobacco usage undo much of the positive input of a good exercise programme, so there is a real need for a balance in all the important areas which influence health. In other words, a healthy lifestyle programme should be adopted.
One does not have to go overboard with exercise. In fact, studies are showing that moderately physically active individuals experience cardiovascular benefits in much the same way as those persons who work out rigorously, or even excessively. Studies also show that men who are just normally active during the day have less risk of heart disease than men who are sedentary. Other studies show that people who exercise after a heart attack show better survival rates than those who don't exercise.
High blood pressure can damage the body in the following ways:
It can lead to enlargement of the left side of the heart;
It can cause haemorrhagic stroke;
It can cause aortic aneurysms;
Other studies show that the risks associated with hypertension are lowered by dietary improvement, weight loss, and increased physical activity.
Maintaining heart and respiratory function through exercise can only improve the control of Bards' high blood pressure, improve her weight management, improve her frame of mind, general outlook, and self-esteem. All are important considerations for her at this time.
Inactive persons have double the risk of heart attack compared to regularly physically active people. Blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, and body weight are lowered by exercise, especially when compared to individuals who are inactive.
Lifeline encourages Bard, and in fact, everyone who is physically capable to exercise! Good health will follow!
See a physician or trained sports instructor for advice on how to start an exercise programme. If there are medical issues involved, a medical check-up is a must before starting an exercise programme. And best wishes to Bard as she walks then jogs through our beautiful Emancipation park!
Sagicor also assisted Best Care Foundation by donating 10 hospital bed mattresses to the foundation in conjunction with the Nelson Mandela International Day at the Best Care Children's Home in Kingston last Wednesday.
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