Having a healthy heart is a key factor in maximizing longevity. Losing a few extra pounds, quitting smoking, and reducing alcohol and salt can all have a positive effect on your blood pressure. According to MayoClinic.com, doctors consider blood pressure between 120/80 mm Hg and 140/90 mm Hg, to be prehypertensive.
For the human body to stay healthy, different biological functions have a certain range at which they should be performing at. For example, normal body temperature is 98.7 degrees Fahrenheit, and any extreme rise or fall in temperature from that norm can harm the body. Blood pressure works the same way, providing insight into the functionality of the heart. High blood pressure can lead to cardiovascular problems, including overstressing the cardiac muscle.
Blood pressure can be measured by two numbers expressed in mm of mercury. The higher number is the systolic pressure, produced during the contraction of the heart. When the contractile unit of the heart is relaxed, the pressure drops to a lower number, which is the diastolic pressure. If, for example, the blood pressure is described as 130/70, 130 is the systolic pressure and 70 would be the diastolic pressure.
According to research published in “Canadian Medical Association Journal,” regular rhythmic physical exercise involving the lower extremities decreases both systolic and diastolic blood pressure by 5 to 7 mm Hg. It is important to note that these results were found independent of reduction in weight, alcohol consumption or daily salt intake. Any further steps you take along with jogging can amplify the benefits, helping to lower your blood pressure to a healthier range.
Adherence to regular program is a key for achieving and maintaining the maximum effect exercise exerts on blood pressure, according to a study published in a 1989 supplementary issue of “Public Health Reports.” Individuals in the study had a lower blood pressure at the six-month mark compared with their blood pressure at the end of the second year.
Edward Howley, physiology professor at the University of Tennessee and co-author of “Exercise Physiology,” states that regular exercise training can protect the heart. Exercise, such as jogging, defends the heart against cell death during a myocardial infarction, or heart attack; research showed those individuals who train on a regular basis suffered less cardiac injury during a heart attack. Regular exercise helps maintain healthy blood pressure, reducing the heart’s workload and increasing likelihood of long-term health.
- “Canadian Medical Association Journal”; Recommedations on Physical Exercise Activity; May 1999
- “Public Health Reports” (Supplement); The Role of Exercise in Preventing Osteoporosis; September-October 1989
- “Annals of Internal Medicine”; Effect of Aerobic Exercise on Blood Pressure; April 2002
- “Exercise Physiology: Theory and Application to Fitness and Performance”; Scott Powers, Edward Howley; 2009
- MayoClinic.com: Medical Edge Newspaper Column