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Exercise to lower blood pressure
Old 04-21-2015, 03:03 PM   #1
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Exercise to lower blood pressure

A few weeks ago we watched a program called "The truth about fat" and one of the things they showed was that the best way to burn fat is to exercise hard and slow in a ratio of 2-1. Their volunteers wore a mask connected to equipment on their back and ran for 40 seconds, walked 20, and they could accurately measure how many calories were being burned. They did this for 20 minutes, and unlike running for 20 minutes the increased calorie burn rate continued for hours afterwards. Several times a week I exercise on an elliptical trainer and I tend to keep up a steady fast pace, get my heart rate up and sweat it out for 30 minutes.


So, I thought I'd try this new regime to see if I could lose some weight (I'm 6'1" and 178lbs). I downloaded an interval timer onto my phone, and set it for 1 minute / 30 seconds. My heart rate goes up and down during the workout as I sprint and relax, and I still sweat a load. No weight loss but my BP has come down by 20 points after a few days and has stayed down for several weeks now - totally unexpected, not what I was aiming for, but very satisfying. My BP has been high normal for at least 7 years, the high reading being in the 120 to 140 range, sometimes in the 140's, and I've done all the usual things in the past few years like cut out all salt, stop eating ready meals with all the salt they contain, etc. But this new exercise regime has it down below 110 just about every day and low 120's occasionally. The low reading is now usually in the 60's or 70's.

Next week we start a 6 month driving vacation where I won't be able to keep up this exercise regime so it will be interesting to see if the BP starts creeping back up. (I'll take my BP machine with me)
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Old 04-21-2015, 03:16 PM   #2
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BP is highly variable. When I go the the doctor my BP can be 160/90 and he's tried to put me on medication, but my usual BP is 110/70 and it can be 100/60 after a hard bike ride with my blood vessels dilated.
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Old 04-21-2015, 03:28 PM   #3
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BP is highly variable. When I go the the doctor my BP can be 160/90 and he's tried to put me on medication, but my usual BP is 110/70 and it can be 100/60 after a hard bike ride with my blood vessels dilated.
I know. I have a spreadsheet with my BP every day I wasn't traveling going back 7 years and I have never had anything like such a good series of readings in all that time.
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Old 04-21-2015, 03:29 PM   #4
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A few weeks ago we watched a program called "The truth about fat" and one of the things they showed was that the best way to burn fat is to exercise hard and slow in a ratio of 2-1. Their volunteers wore a mask connected to equipment on their back and ran for 40 seconds, walked 20, and they could accurately measure how many calories were being burned. They did this for 20 minutes, and unlike running for 20 minutes the increased calorie burn rate continued for hours afterwards. Several times a week I exercise on an elliptical trainer and I tend to keep up a steady fast pace, get my heart rate up and sweat it out for 30 minutes.


So, I thought I'd try this new regime to see if I could lose some weight (I'm 6'1" and 178lbs). I downloaded an interval timer onto my phone, and set it for 1 minute / 30 seconds. My heart rate goes up and down during the workout as I sprint and relax, and I still sweat a load. No weight loss but my BP has come down by 20 points after a few days and has stayed down for several weeks now - totally unexpected, not what I was aiming for, but very satisfying. My BP has been high normal for at least 7 years, the high reading being in the 120 to 140 range, sometimes in the 140's, and I've done all the usual things in the past few years like cut out all salt, stop eating ready meals with all the salt they contain, etc. But this new exercise regime has it down below 110 just about every day and low 120's occasionally. The low reading is now usually in the 60's or 70's.

Next week we start a 6 month driving vacation where I won't be able to keep up this exercise regime so it will be interesting to see if the BP starts creeping back up. (I'll take my BP machine with me)
Alan, this is astounding. Thank you for passing it on. You may have found a way to add many years to your healthy lifespan.

But you can take it with you on your trip. Jump up and down for 40", walk slowly around in circles for 20". Keep up the cycles for 20'. You may well keep that low blood pressure.

Are you supposed to do it daily, or with some off days, or what is the full protocol?

Ha
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Old 04-21-2015, 03:34 PM   #5
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Alan, this is astounding. Thank you for passing it on.

But you can take it with you. Jump up and down for 40", walk slowly around in circles for 20". keep up the cycles for 20'. You may well keep that low blood pressure.

Are you supposed to do it daily, or with some off days, or what is the full protocol?

Ha
I have been doing it at the same frequency as my regular 30 minutes on the elliptical which is every other day, all I have changed is that it is now in intervals, really pushing it for a minute, very slow for 30 seconds, and I usually only go for 20 minutes, particularly on days when I've done other exercise such as a bike ride.
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Old 04-21-2015, 03:39 PM   #6
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I should add that I did have a nuclear stress test a few weeks back so I feel confident in my ability to stress my heart like this. (I am now over 60)

As always, check with your doctor before starting a vigorous exercise program.
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Old 04-21-2015, 03:58 PM   #7
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I have been doing it at the same frequency as my regular 30 minutes on the elliptical which is every other day, all I have changed is that it is now in intervals, really pushing it for a minute, very slow for 30 seconds, and I usually only go for 20 minutes, particularly on days when I've done other exercise such as a bike ride.
OK, I think I misunderstood. You go full speed for one minute, than slow for 30 seconds. So in 20 minutes you would do roughly 14 cycles.

And you do this 3x per week, on alternate days. It sounds killer.

This is the same ratio as the Tabata protocol, though he has suggested 20:10 seconds work: slow for only 8 cycles.

Ha
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Old 04-21-2015, 04:58 PM   #8
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OK, I think I misunderstood. You go full speed for one minute, than slow for 30 seconds. So in 20 minutes you would do roughly 14 cycles.

And you do this 3x per week, on alternate days. It sounds killer.

This is the same ratio as the Tabata protocol, though he has suggested 20:10 seconds work: slow for only 8 cycles.

Ha
Just looked up the Tabata protocol and yes it certainly seems to be similar. It also says that it is a protocol for fat burning, which is what I was shooting for, this lowering of BP that is happening for me is probably an outlier, but very welcome. I see the cardiologist in a week's time and am hopeful that the BP will be better than last month when I saw him and it was 150/90. (He did say that he wasn't yet concerned about BP ).
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Old 04-21-2015, 06:04 PM   #9
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That's really interesting Alan. Thanks for sharing.

I noticed a drop in my BP of about 10 points shortly after I started taking progesterone. I mentioned it to my Doc and in his opinion it was more likely due to my increase in Vitamin D. But I think it is also a benefit of improved hormone balance.

I had been monitoring BP off an on and it had been been gradually creeping up to the low and mid 130s. It dropped 10 points suddenly, and then after a while started to read well under 120 most times I measured it.

Unfortunately it still occasionally reads high in the doctor's office (like before). Last time too - it was 140 over something even though 2 hours earlier at home it had been 115/76. The nurse always comments. Annoying!

I need to measure and note more consistently. After 3 or 4 readings in a row of 115 or less I tend to slack off.
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Old 04-22-2015, 12:17 PM   #10
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Unfortunately it still occasionally reads high in the doctor's office (like before). Last time too - it was 140 over something even though 2 hours earlier at home it had been 115/76. The nurse always comments. Annoying!

f.
DWs Practitioner called this White Coat Syndrome. She would often go in and her BP would be through the roof and her heart rate in the 160 range. The Practitioner would always redo those tests at the end of the checkup and they'd both be back to the high normal range by then.

Alan, has any weight loss happened along with the BP reduction? Maybe I should look up the intervals Ha mentioned. I seem to be stuck at a platue again.

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Old 04-22-2015, 12:30 PM   #11
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Really interesting, Alan. Is that the BBC series? Is your resting pulse also affected? Has Mrs. Alan used this same strategy with the same or different results? Can I ask any more questions?
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Old 04-22-2015, 01:31 PM   #12
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DWs Practitioner called this White Coat Syndrome. She would often go in and her BP would be through the roof and her heart rate in the 160 range. The Practitioner would always redo those tests at the end of the checkup and they'd both be back to the high normal range by then.

Alan, has any weight loss happened along with the BP reduction? Maybe I should look up the intervals Ha mentioned. I seem to be stuck at a platue again.

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No weight loss I'm afraid. My target is to be <175lbs, and I was at 177 when I started on March 18 and I'm now on 176.5 having had 2 weeks on 175.5.

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Really interesting, Alan. Is that the BBC series? Is your resting pulse also affected? Has Mrs. Alan used this same strategy with the same or different results? Can I ask any more questions?
Yes it was the BBC series "The truth about ...." I think this was the 4th episode.

Mrs Alan has not used the same strategy yet but is thinking about it as the weather warms up. She runs 5 miles outside 2 or 3 times a week and the weather has continued to be nice, and she likes to enjoy the scenery and keep a steady pace. When she has to run indoors she uses a treadmill and has seen that they do have an interval setting so she will probably give this interval sprinting, walking thing a try out then. Her weight is well below her target and she has no BP issues as yet so doesn't have the same motivation as myself.

My resting pulse has come down just a little. Before it was high 50's, low 60's, now it is low 50's.
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Old 04-22-2015, 01:40 PM   #13
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Below is a copy and paste from my spreadsheet. Virtually all the BP readings for the last year have been above 120, which is why I'm very encouraged about this last few weeks.

Date........Time...Syst..Diast..HR
03/18/15 12:58 135.0 73.0 59.0
03/19/15 20:05 132.0 77.0 62.0
03/20/15 11:04 130.0 79.0 63.0
21-Mar-15 13:40 140.0 79.0 62.0
22-Mar-15 14:10 136.0 75.0 59.0
03/23/15 12:23 138.0 78.0 61.0
03/24/15 13:35 129.0 72.0 67.0
03/25/15 16:10 135.0 82.0 56.0
03/26/15 08:30 128.0 78.0 62.0
03/27/15 16:52 145.0 80.0 55.0
28-Mar-15 15:15 121.0 71.0 57.0
29-Mar-15 20:26 117.0 65.0 56.0
03/30/15 15:55 116.0 68.0 61.0
03/31/15 16:16 119.0 72.0 53.0
04/01/15 10:48 109.0 62.0 61.0
04/02/15 12:41 130.0 78.0 52.0
04/03/15 15:55 124.0 73.0 50.0
04-Apr-15 21:43 127.0 68.0 56.0
5-Apr-15 21:32 115.0 65.0 59.0
04/06/15 21:49 106.0 68.0 64.0
04/07/15 19:55 125.0 65.0 62.0
04/08/15 20:55 111.0 66.0 62.0
04/09/15 21:41 109.0 62.0 57.0
04/10/15 22:43 122.0 67.0 54.0
11-Apr-15 14:28 110.0 65.0 54.0
12-Apr-15 19:06 112.0 64.0 57.0
04/13/15 19:50 116.0 64.0 57.0
04/14/15 20:53 105.0 60.0 53.0
04/15/15 19:09 129.0 65.0 61.0
04/16/15 21:02 118.0 68.0 53.0
04/17/15 19:03 138.0 77.0 53.0
04/18/15 09:31 111.0 71.0 51.0
19-Apr-15 10:11 115.0 63.0 57.0
20-Apr-15 15:22 102.0 60.0 55.0
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Old 04-22-2015, 01:41 PM   #14
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Old 04-22-2015, 01:45 PM   #15
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When you do this do you just push max effort concerned only with the timing? Or are you using something to gauge your heart rate so you don't blow the red-line?

I do a similar interval-style workout. I use sets of squats because I want to use large muscle groups. I used to do sets of pushups though. I rev my heart rate up to 80% of max then keep going for 30 seconds monitoring so as not to exceed 95%, then take a 90 second break. I have, however, found dozens of various permutations of these kinds of routines, all slightly different. Longer breaks. Shorter breaks. Breaks determined by heart rate recovery. etc etc.

I figure if you do any of them prudently you are already inside the zone of diminishing returns as far as health benefits so it probably doesn't matter too much which method you're using.



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A few weeks ago we watched a program called "The truth about fat" and one of the things they showed was that the best way to burn fat is to exercise hard and slow in a ratio of 2-1. Their volunteers wore a mask connected to equipment on their back and ran for 40 seconds, walked 20, and they could accurately measure how many calories were being burned. They did this for 20 minutes, and unlike running for 20 minutes the increased calorie burn rate continued for hours afterwards. Several times a week I exercise on an elliptical trainer and I tend to keep up a steady fast pace, get my heart rate up and sweat it out for 30 minutes.


So, I thought I'd try this new regime to see if I could lose some weight (I'm 6'1" and 178lbs). I downloaded an interval timer onto my phone, and set it for 1 minute / 30 seconds. My heart rate goes up and down during the workout as I sprint and relax, and I still sweat a load. No weight loss but my BP has come down by 20 points after a few days and has stayed down for several weeks now - totally unexpected, not what I was aiming for, but very satisfying. My BP has been high normal for at least 7 years, the high reading being in the 120 to 140 range, sometimes in the 140's, and I've done all the usual things in the past few years like cut out all salt, stop eating ready meals with all the salt they contain, etc. But this new exercise regime has it down below 110 just about every day and low 120's occasionally. The low reading is now usually in the 60's or 70's.

Next week we start a 6 month driving vacation where I won't be able to keep up this exercise regime so it will be interesting to see if the BP starts creeping back up. (I'll take my BP machine with me)
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Old 04-22-2015, 01:58 PM   #16
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It's probably in another thread, but what are you using to measure BP? Or can anyone else make a recc?

I'm looking for a machine, I don't seem to be able to reliably measure mine with the old cuff pump and listen routine.

I can imagine there is something to the push then rest system. I think your body begins to acclimate to whatever level you are at, the change-ups might possibly be a good thing - just keep mixing it up and let the body keep changing. Just a theory though.

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Old 04-22-2015, 01:59 PM   #17
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When you do this do you just push max effort concerned only with the timing? Or are you using something to gauge your heart rate so you don't blow the red-line?
Good point and I should have mentioned that I wear a heart monitor strap that shows HR both on my wristwatch and on the display of the machine.

As the workout progresses my peak HR increases until it gets into the 140's. So far it hasn't gone into the 150's before 20 minutes, and once it does start hitting the 50's then I stop although now I content myself with just 20 minutes as it is hitting the 140's during the sprint periods. My max HR for my age is 160, so 90% is 144, which is what the target was for my recent stress test (once in the 140's they injected the radioactive medicine), and I hit that target after 13 minutes, running uphill by that time.

Another measure I take is recovery rate, noting the drop in HR 60 seconds after I stop. So far it has always fallen between 25 and 30 BPM
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Old 04-22-2015, 02:14 PM   #18
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Ok. More clear now. I try to keep it between 80% and 90% but have nothing against going to 95% momentarily just as I reach the end of the interval. As long as I don't try to do that on a sustained basis. I do monitor my exertion output once I hit the 80%. During the later sets I do not push it to max out anything. I will modulate the exercise to keep from overspeeding if I have to.
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Old 04-22-2015, 02:18 PM   #19
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No commenting on Alan's specific program, but one thing to remember is that it takes high motivation to do this kind of intervals. ( High work to rest ratio.) They are highly aversive!, at least compared to just cruising along.

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Old 04-22-2015, 02:28 PM   #20
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No commenting on Alan's specific program, but one thing to remember is that it takes high motivation to do this kind of intervals. ( High work to rest ratio.) They are highly aversive!, at least compared to just cruising along.

Ha
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