Exercises to avoid for people with high blood pressure

Credit: Unsplash+

Regular physical activity is often recommended to manage high blood pressure, also known as hypertension. However, not all exercises are safe for people with high blood pressure. Some activities can actually raise blood pressure to dangerous levels, posing health risks.

This guide provides an overview of exercises that individuals with high blood pressure should avoid or modify. The information is presented in simple language for easy understanding.

High blood pressure happens when the force of the blood against the walls of your arteries is too high. This condition can lead to serious health problems like heart disease and stroke.

Exercise can help lower blood pressure by strengthening the heart, making it pump blood more efficiently. However, some exercises can cause a temporary increase in blood pressure, which might be risky if you already have high blood pressure.

Exercises to Avoid or Modify

Heavy Weight Lifting: Lifting heavy weights can cause a significant spike in blood pressure during the lift. This happens because of the intense effort and breath-holding that often comes with lifting heavy weights.

If you have high blood pressure, it’s better to avoid lifting heavy weights. Instead, use lighter weights with more repetitions and make sure to breathe evenly throughout the exercise.

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT): HIIT is good for cardiovascular health and weight loss, but it involves very intense exercise periods that can dramatically increase blood pressure temporarily.

If your blood pressure is not well controlled, it’s safer to choose moderate-intensity aerobic activities like brisk walking or cycling at a steady pace.

Isometric Exercises: These exercises involve holding a position without moving the muscles, such as planks or wall sits. They can also cause significant increases in blood pressure. If you have hypertension, you should limit the duration of these exercises or avoid them altogether.

Racquet Sports: Sports like tennis and squash can cause sudden changes in blood pressure due to the intense bursts of exertion required. If you enjoy racquet sports, consider playing doubles rather than singles to reduce the intensity of the game.

Sprinting or Speed Running: Running at high speeds in short bursts can significantly raise your blood pressure. Instead, try jogging or running at a comfortable pace that doesn’t overly increase your heart rate.

Safe Exercise Recommendations

According to the American Heart Association, regular, moderate-intensity aerobic exercise can help lower blood pressure. Activities like walking, cycling, swimming, and light jogging are highly recommended for people with hypertension.

It’s important to gradually build up the duration and intensity of your workouts. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise per week.

Consulting Health Professionals

Before starting or changing your exercise routine, it’s crucial to consult with a healthcare provider, especially if you have high blood pressure or other health issues.

Your fitness plan should be tailored to your specific health needs, considering your current physical condition and any medications you might be taking. Regular medical check-ups are essential to monitor your blood pressure levels and overall health.


While exercise is beneficial for managing high blood pressure, not all types of exercise are suitable. Avoiding or modifying high-risk activities can help you enjoy the benefits of exercise safely without unnecessarily raising your blood pressure.

The key is consistency and moderation, along with regular medical check-ups to ensure you are on the right track.

If you care about heart health, please read studies that vitamin K helps cut heart disease risk by a third, and a year of exercise reversed worrisome heart failure.

For more information about heart health, please see recent studies about supplements that could help prevent heart disease, stroke, and results showing this food ingredient may strongly increase heart disease death risk.

Copyright © 2024 Knowridge Science Report. All rights reserved.