Weightlifting has gotten a bum rap throughout the years. As a result, many choose to avoid it altogether – opting for some form of cardio instead. And it’s unfortunate because the health benefits of resistance training are many, while the risks relatively few.
For example, most women will choose the treadmill over the squat rack for fear of getting “jacked” (something that’s unlikely to happen unless anabolic steroids come into the picture). Similarly, several men with hypertension will shy away from the weights as well – believing it will make their condition worse.
Which is why the need for this article exists. Listen, everyone should be lifting weights. But if you have high blood pressure, there’s even more reason to do so. It will help you lower it naturally. And as you already know, that will keep your ticker beating strong, and without needing more drugs.
Of course, this bit of information flies in the face of conventional wisdom. In fact, many well-meaning (yet ignorant) doctors have scared their patients away from such a wonderful way to get fit – fearing that it would exacerbate their hypertension. But studies clearly show that the exact opposite happens. As it turns out, lifting a few times a week is one of the best (natural) medicines for lowering blood pressure.
Now, before we move on to how exactly weightlifting lowers blood pressure, take heed of this warning. You need to get clearance from your doctor first. Plus, your hypertension should be controlled. It’s not a good idea to strain your system if you’re pulsing at 200/120. But provided the above-mentioned criteria are met, hit the gym and hit it hard.
With that said, here are 3 ways weightlifting lowers blood pressure:
- It builds muscle (the most obvious benefit). When you’re carrying more lean mass, everyday tasks require less effort. As a result, your heart doesn’t strain as much, and your blood pressure stays lower.
- It improves insulin sensitivity. The more responsive your cells are to insulin, the less your pancreas needs to secrete. Why is this so important? Simple: high levels of this hormone cause salt retention. This, in turn, leads to fluid retention and an overall rise in BP. In contrast, keeping your insulin levels low (by reducing demand via resistance training) stops this from happening.
- It prevents Magnesium wasting. This is an indirect effect that’s mediated by insulin. However, the mechanism (and its importance) is worth mentioning on its own.
When you’re insulin resistant – something you can avoid or even reverse with resistance training – your body loses Magnesium in the urine. That’s not good because this mineral allows your blood vessels to relax. On the other hand, less magnesium leads to stricter arteries and a rise in blood pressure.
With that said, there are many more ways weightlifting can lower blood pressure – both indirectly and directly. But I’m sure you get the point. So, if you haven’t already incorporated this type of training into your weekly schedule, now’s the time to do it. You’ll lose weight, optimize your health, and… even look good naked! What could be better than that?