Treadmill Running and its Effect on Blood Pressure

Healthy blood pressure ranges from 110/70 to 130/80 in most people. Treadmill running is a great way to lower high blood pressure naturally, or in combination with prescription medication

High Blood Pressure Caused by Poor Lifestyle Choices

Though high blood pressure (or “hypertension”) can be caused by pre-existing genetic factors, it’s mostly due to poor lifestyle choices. Inactivity, obesity and smoking eventually lead to arteriosclerosis and high blood sugar which can cause a host of imbalances, including high cholesterol and sodium levels in the bloodstream.

A weak cardiovascular system is another big culprit that causes this condition. A lack of regular physical activity leads to a weak heart and/or poor lung capacity, which causes the heart to pump harder than it should.

Important Note:

If you’ve been diagnosed with high blood pressure, you have to get the go-ahead from your doctor before setting off on the treadmill. While regular walks or runs are proven to lower blood pressure quickly (see here), those who have dangerously high numbers may risk worsening their health without medical supervision.

Weight Loss

Obesity is the #1 cause of both type-II and pre-diabetes. Being overweight taxes your liver and pancreas, making it difficult for your body to deal with sugar from the food you eat. Blood sugar imbalances are a direct cause of high triglyceride and cholesterol levels – both of which cause arteriosclerosis (thickening of the arteries) and high blood pressure.

Running on the treadmill burns off excess sugar in the blood, consequently lowering cholesterol and triglyceride levels, which in turn can lower blood pressure. It also lowers stress hormone levels (cortisol) in the blood which also often contribute to obesity, high blood pressure and sugar control problems.

Summary:

Combined with a calorie-restricted diet, running on the treadmill 4-5 times a week will help you lose weight. Losing as little as 10 pounds can cause a significant reduction in your numbers. It’s generally accepted that the more overweight you are, the more your blood pressure will come down closer to normal (120/20) as you continue to lose weight.

Cardiovascular Strengthening

Aerobic activity is much safer for people with high blood pressure than resistance training. This is particularly true if you’re trying to lower it naturally without drugs. Resistance exercise causes blood pressure to rise during exercise and so are often unsafe if you’re numbers are out of safe range (typically over 150/100).

Your blood pressure can lower in as little as a few treadmill sessions. This study showed that men in particular seem to benefit much more quickly from moderate to intense aerobic training sessions than women do. Additionally, both sexes receive more blood-pressure-lowering benefits from running and other aerobic activities than from resistance exercises in general when they’d already been diagnosed with hypertension (source).

Conclusion

For most people, high blood pressure is a result of several lifestyle choices: too much sugar, too much fat, smoking, and an inactive lifestyle.

Running on the treadmill is a great way to strengthen your heart and lungs, while reducing blood sugar, fat and cholesterol levels in the bloodstream.

The only thing running and other aerobic activities can’t do is erase the effects of a poor diet, drug abuse, or smoking. These factors often present the toughest challenges for people looking to reduce their blood pressure.

Once you get your exercise and lifestyle choice in line, normal blood pressure is well within your grasp!