How might regular cardiorespiratory exercise affect hypertension

How might regular cardiorespiratory exercise affect hypertension?

How might regular cardiorespiratory exercise affect hypertension?

Hypertension, often known as high blood pressure, can lead to several health problems, such as heart disease and stroke. Regular cardiorespiratory exercise is one therapy option that people come across frequently during their research on hypertension.

Is it possible to manage hypertension with regular cardiorespiratory exercise? What effects could regular cardiorespiratory exercise have on hypertension?

In this blog post, we will look at how regular cardiorespiratory exercise may affect hypertension.

Hypertension, what is it?

Hypertension is a common condition in which blood pressure (BP) is too high – the force of the blood against the artery walls is persistently high enough to cause health problems. Blood pressure is commonly expressed as the ratio of the systolic BP (that is, the pressure blood exerts on the artery walls when the heart contracts) and the diastolic BP (the pressure when the heart relaxes).

In narrow blood vessels, also known as arteries, blood flow is more challenging. The greater the resistance in your arteries, the higher the resistance and hence the higher your blood pressure. Long-term, rising pressure can cause health issues like heart disease, stroke, and even death (1, 2)

Hypertension is a common condition, particularly in the United States. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly half of adults in the United States have hypertension (3).

In 2019, 22% of people in the European Union aged 15 years and above reported having high blood pressure (4). In Canada, hypertension is present in 21% of the population (5).

The International Society of Hypertension Global Hypertension Guidelines, 2020 recommend that hypertension be diagnosed when your systolic BP in the office or clinic is ≥140 mmHg and/or your diastolic BP is ≥ 90 mmHg following repeated measurements (6).

Usually, there are no obvious symptoms if you have hypertension, so checking your blood pressure on a regular basis could help you and your doctor see any changes.

Even if you don’t have any symptoms, high blood pressure can injure your blood vessels and organs, including the brain, heart, eyes, and kidneys. Certain physical traits and lifestyle choices can put you at a greater risk for hypertension.

How might regular cardiorespiratory exercise affect hypertension?

It is important to avoid hypertension completely. Implementing healthy lifestyle choices is a great place to start. However, if you have hypertension, it is never too late.

With proper treatment and management, you can control your blood pressure to promote good health and help you live longer (7).

The Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure (JNC) and the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) recommend appropriate lifestyle choices, including increased and regular physical activity as initial therapy to prevent, treat, and control hypertension (8)

What is a cardiorespiratory exercise?

Any physical activity that raises your heart rate and breathing is known as cardiorespiratory exercise (aerobic activity). During this activity, also known as endurance activity, the body’s large muscles move in an even and steady manner for a sustained period, improving cardiorespiratory fitness.

Examples of cardiorespiratory exercises that may help with your hypertension include :

  • walking,
  • running,
  • riding,
  • swimming, and
  • dancing.

The World Health Organization recommends that persons living with hypertension engage in at least 150 minutes (2.5 hours) – 300 minutes (5 hours) of moderate-intensity aerobic (cardiorespiratory) physical activity; or at least 75 minutes (1.25 hours) – 150 minutes (2.5 hours) of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week.

Walking at a moderate pace of three to four miles per hour, riding at a leisurely pace, or even mowing the lawn are examples of moderate-intensity activities.

You can also practice muscle-strengthening activities at moderate intensity at least twice a week in addition to aerobic physical activity as these provide further health benefits. Lifting weights and using resistance bands are examples of muscle-strengthening activities(8).

However, before beginning any new fitness routine, you should always consider your age group and specific population group for the recommended physical activities you might need.

Let’s take a look at how regular cardiorespiratory exercise might affect hypertension.

Reduces blood pressure

Cardiorespiratory exercise improves circulation, which results in lowered blood pressure and heart rate. In addition, it increases your overall aerobic fitness and improves the heart’s ability to pump blood throughout the body (cardiac output) (9).

Cardio exercises also help to reduce blood vessel stiffness to enhance the easy flow of blood. Regular cardio sessions can reduce stress and worry, two typical hypertension triggers (10).

Reduction in weight and obesity

Another significant advantage of regular cardiorespiratory exercise is its capacity to help people maintain a healthy weight or lose weight. Obesity is a major risk factor for hypertension, this keeping active lowers the risk of hypertension (11).

Cardiorespiratory exercise increases the number of calories your body burns off while also assisting in the development of lean muscle mass, both of which can help you lose weight. Furthermore, cardiorespiratory exercise improves insulin sensitivity, which can aid in weight loss (12).

Stress Hormones Reduction

While there are numerous potential causes of hypertension, chronic stress is one of the most common. When we are stressed, our bodies release hormones such as cortisol, which raise blood pressure. Hypertension can develop as a result of this over time.

Regular cardiorespiratory exercise reduces levels of the body’s stress hormones, such as cortisol and adrenaline. As a result, it may be a useful tool for preventing or treating hypertension.

Regular exercise not only helps to reduce stress hormones, but it also helps to promote heart health and blood flow. This can lower blood pressure, even more, lowering the risk of hypertension (13).

Improved Blood Vessel Elasticity and Compliance

The enhanced flexibility of blood vessels is one of the prominent effects of frequent cardiorespiratory exercise. This means that the vessels are better able to expand and constrict as needed, which aids in maintaining a healthy blood pressure.

Furthermore, regular exercise can aid in the reduction of plaque buildup in the arteries, which can lead to hypertension (14).


Regular cardiorespiratory exercise can help with hypertension in a variety of ways. Exercise may help control or improve hypertension in some circumstances. Furthermore, improved cardiorespiratory endurance boosts oxygen uptake in the lungs and heart, allowing a person to engage in physical activity for longer periods of time.


Michael Sarfo
Content Creator at Wapomu

Michael Sarfo is a graduate of the University of Ghana, Legon. He is a content creator for and a writer for Wapomu

Dr. Solomon Kwesi Otchere (Pharmacist)

Dr. Solomon Kwesi Otchere is a Pharmacist by profession in Ghana. He is passionate about informed healthy lifestyle and diet options necessary for preventing many disease conditions. He also empowers patients and clients to make savvy choices on medications needful to promote good health.

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