Worried about high blood pressure after exercising? Read this guide and learn how long it is normal to have elevated blood pressure post-exercise.
- Exercise causes your heart to pump harder and faster, which in turn raises your systolic blood pressure.
- You should consult a doctor if your systolic blood pressure exceeds 200 mm Hg.
- After exercising, your blood pressure will usually stay lower for a few hours.
- The level of increase in blood pressure also depends on the intensity of the workout and how high your baseline blood pressure is.
When it comes to blood pressure, there are a lot of misconceptions out there. For one, many people believe that exercising will necessarily raise their blood pressure. However, this isn’t always the case.
In fact, exercise can actually help lower blood pressure if it’s already elevated. And if your blood pressure is on the low side, exercise may help raise it. Furthermore, it also depends on a few factors, including the intensity of your workout and how high your blood pressure was, to begin with.
You can expect your blood pressure to stay lower for several hours after you finish exercising. Keep reading further to know the effects of exercise on high blood pressure and how long it stays elevated.
What Is Normal Blood Pressure?
Blood pressure is known as the force that is exerted by your blood against the artery walls. Usually, normal blood pressure is considered less than 120/80 mm Hg. This signifies that the systolic (top) pressure is less than 120 and the diastolic (bottom) pressure is less than 80.
Systolic blood pressure can be recognised as the force of blood against the artery walls while the heart squeezes. At the same time, diastolic blood pressure is known as the force of blood between beats when the heart relaxes.
In case you notice that your blood pressure readings are consistently above 140/90 mm Hg, you have hypertension or high blood pressure. You have pre-hypertension if your readings are consistently between 120/80 mm Hg and 139/89 mm Hg.
How Does Exercise Affect Blood Pressure?
When you work out, your muscles require more oxygen than they do at rest. As a result, your heart begins to beat faster and harder in order to circulate blood and give oxygen to your muscles. The increased heart rate and circulating blood volume raise systolic blood pressure.
During exercise, systolic blood pressure is normal if it rises between 160 and 220 mm Hg. However, if your systolic blood pressure exceeds 200 mm Hg, you should stop exercising and consult your doctor.
Furthermore, there are various factors that can influence how your cardiovascular system responds to exercise, including diet, medical conditions, and medications.
So, if you have any concerns about your blood pressure during exercise, ensure to talk to your doctor before starting or continuing any fitness program.
For How Long Does Blood Pressure Stay Elevated Post-Exercise?
While exercising, your heart rate increases and your blood vessels dilate. These changes cause a temporary rise in blood pressure. Most people’s blood pressure returns to normal soon after they stop exercising.
However, some people may have elevated blood pressure for several hours after they finish working out. Contact a healthcare provider if your blood pressure is still high 2 hours after you exercise.
Generally, the fitter you are, the quicker your blood pressure will return to its normal range. It’s important to remember that normal blood pressure varies from person to person based on factors like genetics, lifestyle, sex, age, and ethnicity.
When Is High Blood Pressure An Emergency After Exercise?
If your blood pressure is high after exercise, it is essential to monitor it closely. It is considered as a hypertensive emergency if you experience a rapid and severe spike in blood pressure. This happens when your blood pressure reaches 180/120 mm Hg or higher.
Symptoms like continuous chest pain, shortness of breath, backache, change in vision or numbness in any body part can be alarming. If you feel any of these symptoms after exercise, you should call local emergency services immediately.
Suppose your blood pressure has only increased to 180/120 mm Hg without any other symptoms. In that case, the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends waiting for 5 minutes and checking your blood pressure again. If it does not return to normal on its own, you should call a doctor.
How Can You Manage Blood Pressure After Exercising?
You can do several things to help keep your blood pressure in check while working out. First, try to avoid sudden changes in activity level. If you’ve been inactive for a while, start slowly and gradually increase your intensity. And make sure to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids.
After exercise, monitor your blood pressure and heart rate. If your numbers are higher than usual, don’t be alarmed; take it easy for the rest of the day. With careful planning and monitoring, you can safely enjoy the benefits of exercise even if you have high blood pressure.
Remember that while exercise is a terrific method to improve your general health, it can also have an effect on your blood pressure.
If you have hypertension, it is advised to consult with your doctor before beginning a new exercise regimen. They can help you create a suitable plan for you and help you manage your blood pressure during and after exercise.
When it comes to managing your blood pressure, exercise can be a great asset. But for some people with high blood pressure, exercise can lead to a condition called EIH or Exercise-Induced Hypertension.
This occurs when your systolic blood pressure increases beyond the 90th percentile while exercising and takes a long time to return to normal. If this happens, it’s important to stop exercising immediately and seek medical help.
To avoid this, you can try increasing your exercise routine slowly and consistently while monitoring your blood pressure regularly. With few lifestyle changes and taking medication as needed will help to keep your blood pressure under control.
Edwards, Jennifer M., “High Blood Pressure After Exercise: How Long Is Too Long?”, Published on July 21, 2022 https://www.healthline.com/health/high-blood-pressure-hypertension/how-long-does-blood-pressure-stay-elevated-after-exercise#takeaway
Dresden, Danielle, “What to know about blood pressure rates after exercising”, on Oct 1, 2019 https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/326514
Vandergriendt, Carly, “How Does Exercise Affect Blood Pressure?” on Nov 5, 2018 https://www.healthline.com/health/blood-pressure-after-exercise