Thursday, 2 April 2020

Can the middle-aged people with hypertension do weight-lifting exercises?

Joy of weight lifting. //75dm.com


weight-lifting www.shutterstock.com
World over in many countries, people are  presently experiencing long lock-down of cities, towns and districts  to control the spread of Covid-19 virus. Once we successfully pass through this crucial stage in the next one month or so, it is likely, the impact of this scourge that originated from China on the death toll will be far  less than what medical experts  have projected.  
I have heard many people complain in the media that  they feel bored/dejected and depressed being at home continuously for days together.  It is true that the tedium and ennui  will take away the joys of your life,  staying within the confines of four walls with no fresh air.  We have to presume that it is only a temporary phase as the whole world is experiencing the pandemic. To keep your self engaged, spend some time on prayers if you are religious, on writing if you are a writer, on painting if you are good at it. You have many options, depending on your interest.  Whatever you do,  do it with joy. 

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As for physical activity to keep you mind active, try it as much as you can within in your living space. What about weight lifting? We are aware that regular aerobic exercise is good for you health because it  can improve blood  circulation and reduce blood pressure.  If  you are hypertensive, though medical reports come up with different results, it is a good idea if you will just be content with aerobic exercise like skipping at home.  What about middle-aged people who go for weight-lifting?  For years doctors warned  BP patients against weight lifting because BP will spike during strenuous lifting.  However, recent studies -  called  meta-analysis have shown that weight lifting reduces resting blood pressure, because with stronger muscles, there is less demand on the heart during everyday activities.  In a study published in the  journal hypertension based on 11 clinical trials with 182 adults who lifted weights  several times a week  and 138 who did not it  was found that  weight training lowered resting systolic blood pressure (the top number in a pressure reading) by 2 percent, and diastolic pressure by about 4 percent — small gains that can greatly improve cardiovascular health.

Some doctors say that people above 45 must consult a doctor if they engage in weight-lifting as part of their physical exercise regimen.  In countries like India,  hypertensive people are  discouraged to involve in weight-lifting. 
 Let us see why doctors are against the lifting of weights by hypertensive people.  Weight-lifting or isotonic exercises  are high intensity activities for a short duration. The contracting muscles exert pressure on the arterioles causing increased peripheral  vascular resistance . In this situation, the heart will pump more  forcefully to get the blood moving. Both increased vascular resistance and contractility of the heart muscle will increase the blood pressure.  Middle aged people, it is said, must avoid isometric contractions (where muscle tension increases without any movement).

jogging  in a park. www.freepik.com

Regular aerobic exercises reduce BP and cardiac function.  Such exercises remain sustained for a long time  and this causes dilation of the  arterioles in the muscles in order to supply more blood to the exercising muscles. By increasing the venous blood flow  from the legs to the heart and  by reducing the resistance in the arterioles, the heart is able to pump blood with considerable ease.
 In a reduced space under total-lock down situation,  simple skipping is a good bet for people above  the middle age.

https://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/21/health/21real.html
https://www.medicinenet.com/lift_weights_high_blood_pressure/ask.html