Lose Weight With Exercise When You Have High Blood Pressure

If you’ve been diagnosed with high blood pressure, your healthcare provider may have recommended that you lose weight with exercise. But starting an exercise program and trying to lose weight while managing hypertension can be confusing. Use this article as a starting point, along with advice from your healthcare provider, to come up with a plan that works for you.

Adult man consulting with a doctor in an office
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Benefits for People Who Have High Blood Pressure

One of the greatest benefits of starting an exercise program is weight loss. Losing even a small amount of weight can bring your blood pressure numbers into the normal range. But even if weight loss doesn’t happen right away, just participating in a regular program of moderate exercise can have a positive effect on hypertension.

But the benefits don’t end there. Increasing your physical activity level can also help to decrease your risk of heart disease, prevent type 2 diabetes, reduce stress, decrease your body fat, and improve your cholesterol levels. These are all improvements that will boost your overall health profile.

How to Lose Weight Safely

If you’ve been diagnosed with hypertension, be sure to discuss any new fitness program with your healthcare provider. Mary Moon, M.D., a practicing family physician, counsels many of her patients to lose weight. She explains that many of them have high blood pressure along with other conditions including obesity or type 2 diabetes. While a weight loss exercise program may improve these conditions, she explains that it is important to seek specific guidelines.

“There is no question that exercise is an essential element that will help normalize blood pressure but individuals need to make sure they are doing the right exercises at the right intensity tailored to their particular exercise level or else it may be dangerous for them.”

She recommends that you start off slowly and gradually increase the time and intensity of your workout as your exercise tolerance improves.

Exercise Guidelines

When you discuss a weight loss program with your healthcare provider, you can use these guidelines as a starting point for setting up goals. Then, tailor a schedule that works for you.

  • The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute recommends 30 minutes of moderate activity most days of the week for treatment of high blood pressure.
  • The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes per week or 30 minutes each day (most days of the week) to achieve heart health.
  • The American College of Sport Medicine recommends at least 250 minutes per week of moderate-intensity exercise to achieve significant weight loss.

If you are on blood pressure medication, you should also talk to your healthcare provider about the best way to monitor your exercise intensity. To lose weight, you want to make sure that you are working at the correct exercise intensity level, but some methods of measuring your level may not be effective if you are on a prescription pill. Heart rate monitors, for example, might not work if your medication keeps your heart beating at a steady rate.

Getting Started With a Program

Whether your goal is to control your high blood pressure, lower your blood pressure or just to prevent hypertension, a weight loss program that includes exercise will help you reach your goals. Get started by talking to your healthcare team. Then, come up with a plan that you are willing and able to stick to over the long term.

Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  • American College of Sports Medicine. ACSM Position Stand on Physical Activity and Weight Loss.

  • High Blood Pressure. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  • Prevention and Treatment of High Blood Pressure. Title of Page. American Heart Association.

  • Your Guide to Lowering Blood Pressure. National Heart.

  • Mary Moon, M.D., Interview. August 21, 2012.

By Malia Frey, MA, CHC, CPT
Malia Frey is a weight loss expert, certified health coach, weight management specialist, personal trainer​, and fitness nutrition specialist.