I'm 27. Normally work as a programmer. I've been tracking my blood pressure and heart rate and at rest, they're quite high (around 120/80 and 90+ bpm).

I decided to go for a run today, combined with some squats and push-ups. My heart rate was still safe for my age (around 140 bpm), but my blood pressure shot up to 166/93. I normally get dizzy after a workout, but I realize now that it's due to blood pressure, not heart rate.

So, the question is.. how should I deal with this? Should I be aiming for less intense exercises? Should I be exercising more or less? Is exercise a good way of lowering blood pressure or is that something solely solved by better nutrition (and cutting down on the lamb)?

  • 3
    Actually, 120/80 is perfectly normal for a sitting blood pressure. HR is a little on the high side but not wildly out of norm. And 220-age is one of the worst myths ever propagated, it is essentially a meaningless number.
    – JohnP
    Commented Sep 9, 2013 at 17:23

1 Answer 1


Exercise will help reduce your blood pressure, but you need to understand this is a case where a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

Your blood pressure is spiking during exercise because your heart is working harder to pump blood to flush nutrients to, and waste away from, your muscles. The harder you work, the harder your heart has to pump blood, so the higher your blood pressure will be. This is a natural response to an increased cardiac workload and isn't necessarily dangerous.

What is worth being concerned about is a high resting heart rate, but the only person qualified to diagnose high blood pressure is a medical professional.

As for getting dizzy post-workout that isn't uncommon especially if you are undertrained or are lifting at your maximal load. Just keep working out and your body will acclimatize to its new workload.

  • Thank you. I understand that exercise will increase blood pressure, but is there a commonly accepted maximum blood pressure, similar to the agreed on "target heart rate"? Or is this something that varies too much among individuals?
    – Muz
    Commented Sep 9, 2013 at 13:16
  • 2
    @muz - Highly variable among individuals. Same with "target heart rate". The heart rate related "fat burning zones" are another bad myth.
    – JohnP
    Commented Sep 9, 2013 at 17:24

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