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Your Blood Pressure and Weightlifting

Many people with high blood pressure feel that they should steer clear of lifting weights due to the potential to spike blood pressure dangerously high. Should you be worried too?


So here is the deal. Weightlifting can cause a temporary increase in blood pressure and depending on how heavy you go with the weights, this increase can be substantial. However keep in mind that strength training can slow or reverse declines in strength, bone density and muscle mass. Strength training can also help control blood pressure, so you shouldn't shy away from it if you have high blood pressure, but you should keep these important tips in mind from the Mayo Clinic:

  • Check with your doctor before starting any new exercise program. He or she can help you develop an exercise program tailored to your specific needs.
  • Learn and use proper form when lifting to reduce the risk of injury.
  • Don't hold your breath. Holding your breath during exertion can cause your blood pressure to spike to dangerous levels. Instead, breathe easily and continuously during each lift.
  • Lift less weight with more repetitions. Heavier weights require more strain, which can increase blood pressure. You can challenge your muscles with less weight by increasing your repetitions.
  • Listen to your body. Stop your activity right away if you become severely out of breath or dizzy or if you experience chest pain or pressure.
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