Effects of exercise on my blood pressure

About a year ago, I decided to get into shape, and lose some weight.  One of the side effects of losing weight and eating healthily was that my blood pressure dropped from around the 140/90 area down to 115/70 and below.  During the last year I have done a lot of weight training and aerobic exercise and have lost about 12 Kilograms in weight (that’s nett weight loss, since I have put on a considerable amount of muscle as well, so consider myself to by quite fit.

In this experiment, I wanted to see how exercise affected my blood pressure.

The experiment was simple.

I would do 7 minutes of weight training while seated (this involved shoulder presses).  Immediately afterwards I took my blood pressure twice, with three minutes in between.  I then did another 7 minutes of weights, but this time standing up (bicep curls).  After this 7 minutes I took my blood pressure immediately, and for several minutes afterwards.

Here are my results:

Time
(minutes after exercise)
Upper
(systolic)
Lower
(diastolic)
Heart Rate
(beats per min)
Before Exercise
117
69
74
0
113
68
75
3
112
66
73
7 Minutes Exercise (seated)
0
123
79
118
3
118
76
98
7 Minutes Exercise (standing)
0
117
72
128
3
123
78
106
6
122
76
101
9
122
76
95
12
120
72
94

Here are my results in Graphical format:

exerciseonbloodpressure

Note that the arrows in the graph represent 7 minutes of exercise.

The immediate thing to notice is the obvious.  After exercise, my heart rate increases.  Heart rate increases to increase the flow of blood around the body so that increased oxygen uptake and increased release of carbon dioxide from the tissues can take place.

As for blood pressure, there are slight increases in both diastolic (lower) and systolic pressure (upper) pressures.  From rest, until the first measurement after the first 7 minutes of exercise, the systolic increase by 11 mmHg.  That represents a 9.8% increase in systolic pressure over the resting pressure.  The same measurement for diastolic shows the pressure going up 13 mmHg, representing an increase of 19.7% increase over the resting diastolic pressure.  It would therefore seem that in my case, both diastolic and systolic increase after exercise, though diastolic increase more.  Remember that the diastolic pressure is the pressure in my blood vessels BETWEEN heart beats, so my system is under higher pressure when at “rest”, after exercise.

12 minutes after exercise finished both blood pressure and heart rate was still elevated, so it appears that in my case at least, exercise did increase blood pressure, and that the increase lasted for some time after exercise finished, as did my elevated heart rate.

About Andy

Andy writes for a number of health related sites but has always been fascinated by alternative medicine and home remedies. His deep interests in nature and the body's innate ability to heal itself (given the right condition) have lead him to a pivotal time in his life - and so, Holistic Home Fitness was born. While it's relatively new at the moment, Andy wants to build this site into a huge reference site for a more holistic approach to health and fitness.

Comments

  1. Hi,

    my BP is around 140/90…….. but i’m only 21 and not over weght. I’ve smoked about 10 ciggarettes a day on average for about 7 years, haven’t been doing any major exercise except walking and my diet is not as good as it should be. I didn’t think that 1 year of healthy living would have such a drastic effect on BP but your report shows that it does, I’m going to give it a go!

    Thanks you!

    chris

  2. Hi Chris
    I have actually had high blood pressure for as long as I can remember, and abused my body with alcohol, cigars and poor diet for over 20 years. I am amazed at the changes I have seen. My blood pressure was similar to yours, but after following a healthier lifestyle for over a year now, it iswell below the 120/90 target. Exercise, lots of fresh water, and a healthy diet fixed a lot of my problems.

  3. Wow! Were you taking medications as well? I was diagnosed with chronic hypertension after my pregnancy. I actually had pre-eclampsia but my blood pressure never went down to normal so the doctor is giving me medications to control my blood pressure. I was fit and within normal BMI before my pregnancy but I gained a lot of weight during my pregnancy. Now, 2 months postpartum, I am trying to lose weight and eat healthy. With this, plus medication, my blood pressure is within 120/80 but from time to time it spikes up to 140/90. How long after you changed your lifestyle before you noticed the improvement on your blood pressure?

    • No, I wasnt taking medication. The one thing I did was drink lots of water – 4 litres a day minimum. At the same time, some chronic back problems I was having cure itself. I put it down to the weight loss, healthier eating and the water.

  4. Hi

    I have recently started jogging after many years of total abstinence from any form of exercise. Within just a few weeks I am really feeling the benefit but I have noticed that my blood pressure seems to be raised from my normal 120/80 to 140/90 with readings taken usually 6 hours after exercise.
    I am not taking any medication or suffering any illness. Could this be my body adapting to exercise or do I need to see a doctor?