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One of my family members suffers from hypertension. This person is generally concerned about their health, and has agreed to commit to a workout regimen. The doctors have not raised any flags about working out, however I would like some advice as to how a typical workout should be altered in light of hypertension (if it needs to be altered at all).

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It depends on how high the blood pressure is? I would be very cautious about starting a exercise programme without clearance from the gp. If the high number of the blood pressure if over 145, a gym will refer you to the Doctor and they will require a letter back from your gp to say it is safe for you to train. I would not recommend weights, as this can elevate the blood pressure further. Definitely, no weights above head height.

If all clear is given by the gp, I would start them on walking programme, and swimming.

Whilst exercise will help to bring the blood pressure down. It may need to be brought down with medication before an exercise programme can begin.

I cannot stress enough how dangerous it can be to workout with a very high blood pressure!

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Mr Fox,

First, ensure that the person has seen a doctor to certify that he/she can perform some strenuous activities.

Second, one needs to be aware of the medication the person's taking and the pills' effects on him/her.

If all medical concerns have been dealt with, here are activities that the person can partake it.

  • Yoga! Yoga has been certified (recommended) as a stress reliever exercise. It can be done at any time of the day and almost anywhere. While I wouldn't recommend P90X-style yoga because it's highly strenuous, a daily 10- or 15-min yoga session can do wonders for the body and mind. There are many yoga videos online; check them out and find one to follow.
  • Stretching. If yoga seems too strenuous, a daily stretching session can tone the body as well. It's good for the limbs, body, and mind. There are many online videos on stretching as well. P90X also has a whole video dedicated to stretch movements (check it out if you can).
  • Power walking. No one can go wrong with this exercise. Increase/decrease the intensity as you see fit.
  • Lunges and Squats. These will tone the legs without incurring undue stress on the body
  • If you're gonna do some weightlifting (which I do not recommend unless a doctor recommends it), go light and increase the reps. Pushups are also options in this category.

There might be more heart-friendly exercises that can be performed; however, these readily come to mind and shouldn't require extra equipment.

Whatever your decision, ensure that

  • The person exercises regularly; this is good for the body and mind.
  • Reduce salt intake.
  • Takes time to appreciate life; this helps reduce stress and heart-related problems.

Good luck.

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