Get in the water to decrease blood pressure
Regular physical activity helps us decrease blood pressure and strengthen our heart. A new study published in the American Journal of Cardiology shows how regular exercise carried out in the water has beneficial effects, even on those above 50 years of age.
The study looked at 43 healthy men between 50 and 62 years of age who showed signs of pre-hypertension or were in the first stage of hypertension and not under medical control. They were randomly divided into two groups, one of which was given a 12-week exercise program to be carried out in the pool, while the other was kept as a control group. Before the study, there was no significant difference in the health condition of the two groups, and the same can be said about during the study: weight, body fat, blood sugar and cholesterol did not show particular changes. The most significant change was observed in systolic (maximum) blood pressure, which decreased significantly in the swimming group, specifically from 131 ± 3 to 122 ± 4 mmHg.
Significant results were also observed from a cardiovascular point of view: regular exercise in the water caused a 21% increase in carotid efficiency. A significant improvement in vasodilation and cardiovascular activity was also observed after exercise.
None of these improvements were observed in the control group, who instead practiced relaxation exercises on the ground. The conclusion is simple: regular physical exercise in the water produces hypotensive effects and improves cardiovascular function in previously sedentary middle-aged subjects.
The heart goes underwater to decrease blood pressure
Swimming, which is for the most part a resistance exercise, as it is usually carried out with a constant and prolonged effort, has very positive implications for the whole cardiovascular system, and has proven useful for lowering blood pressure, with the additional advantage that the aerobic work trains the heart to use up less oxygen and energy. If you continue to swim the same distances (without increasing intensity), you will notice that energy consumption decreases, as well as heart rate. This is how we achieve what is known as the “training effect” on the heart. However, this only happens if swimming is practiced regularly (two or three times a week) and for at least thirty minutes at a time, to see quick, beneficial effects including lower blood pressure and a healthier heart.
Obesity, asthma and high blood pressure
Swimming is recommended as treatment for obesity, which can be cured with simple physical activity combined with an adequate diet. It is also useful against asthma, which often shows up after physical activity in young people, thus discouraging it. By demanding a regular breathing rate, connected directly to the swimming pace, this activity facilitates the coordination of respiratory muscles, providing the asthmatic subject with true corrective respiratory gymnastics.
Physical activity “strengthens” the heart?
You can decrease your blood pressure with regular physical activity, increasing the heart’s efficiency and lowering your heart rate.
Scientific articles below:
- High-Intensity Intermittent Swimming Improves Cardiovascular Health Status for Women with Mild Hypertension (Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 728289,9) http://www.hindawi.com/journals/bmri/2014/728289/
- Aquatic exercise is as effective as dry land training to blood pressure reduction in postmenopausal hypertensive women. (Physiother Res Int. 2014 Jun;19(2):93-8) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24022919
- Essential Hypertension: Cardiovascular Response to Breath Hold Combined with Exercise. (Int J Sports Med. 2015 Apr 14) ABSTRACT http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25875316
- Swimming training promotes cardiac remodeling and alters the expression of mRNA and protein levels involved in calcium handling in hypertensive rats. (Life Sci. 2014 Nov 11;117(2):67-74)