Strength Training and Blood Pressure
We all hear that exercise is important for health, but some types of exercise may put us at a slight risk, especially if we have high blood pressure.
Bodybuilding is a great sport and for the most part, it is healthy, the problem is that it can have certain side effects that sometimes under certain conditions are not healthy.
Many bodybuilders suffer from high blood pressure. If you have ever seen a live bodybuilding competition you have probably seen some of those bodybuilders who are often out of breath and gasping for air.
What we know is that during a competition bodybuilders are under a lot of duress due to dieting and certain sports enhancement supplements or drugs they may be taking.
Even so, when pro bodybuilders are bulking they put on a tremendous amount of weight which can obviously contribute to higher blood pressure.
While most people can actively lift weights without it affecting their blood pressure too much, any kind of physical activity will tend to raise blood pressure levels temporarily.
Some may feel they are not affected because often the signs of high blood go unnoticed.
I guess that's the reason they call a heart attack the silent killer because often times most people don't notice any symptoms at all, even if they do they are usually subtle or unnoticeable.
Symptoms of high blood pressure include:
- Mild to severe headaches
- Shortness of breath
- Irregular heartbeat (palpitations)
Just like weightlifting can raise blood pressure it can also lower it.
Knowing how to train the right way can help lower your blood pressure and even improve your cardiovascular health.
Men and women who have been bodybuilding for a while already have an idea of how they feel when they are lifting so side effects may be immediately noticeable.
Someone who has never lifted weights before and feels they are experiencing odd side effects should immediately consult with their doctor in order to determine if he or she has high blood pressure.
Better yet, if you have never lifted weights before it would be a good idea to check with your health care provider before you start any kind of training regimen.
Why does lifting weights raise blood pressure?
Actually, any kind of exercise will raise blood pressure, but weightlifting seems to affect it more.
Blood pressure is determined by the amount of force at which your is pumping.
When you exercise, your heart muscle contracts and creates more pressure in order to increase blood flow to the muscles. However, what you should know is that lifting weights does not cause sustained high blood pressure.
Lifting weights can cause blood pressure to almost double.
Average blood pressure ranges around 120/80.
Doing squats or deadlifts, for example, could cause blood pressure to go as high as 400/200.
Jogging or running can boost blood pressure levels over 200/90.
The good thing is that within minutes of completing an exercise your blood pressure returns back to normal.
Supplements and blood pressure
I bring this up because there are some supplements that are often used by men and women that can increase blood pressure.
Some pre-workouts, for example, contain stimulants such as caffeine and bitter orange which can raise blood pressure levels.
While stimulants only raise blood pressure for a short time they should be considered especially by those who may already have high blood pressure.
Creatine is another supplement that may increase blood pressure and many bodybuilders use creatine to help increase strength and add volume to the muscles.
There have been some reports that after taking creatine blood pressure levels have increased.
The reason creatine can increase blood pressure is that it draws water into the muscle. The muscle is mostly water so increasing water volume can cause an increase in blood pressure.
So, is weightlifting dangerous for your health?
As a whole, a strength training program using proper form and moderate weight will probably do you more good than it will harm you.
If you do your own research on various discussion forums, most doctors recommend strength training to help improve muscle tone and increase bone density which is very important, especially for older men and women.
The best advice I can give anyone is that before you do any kind of physical exercise you should always talk to your doctor first. He or she can give you an assessment of your current health and recommend a physical exercise routine that is best suited for your age and physical abilities.