Q:

Why does systolic blood pressure increase during exercise?

A:

Systolic blood pressure increases during exercise because the heart pumps more blood to the muscles and lungs. In a healthy person, it takes 10 to 20 minutes for systolic blood pressure to return to normal following vigorous aerobic exercise, reports PT Direct.

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When the body is at rest, it directs approximately 60 percent of its blood volume to vital organs. During exercise, the heart pumps more blood to aid the working muscles and lungs. The more blood the heart pumps, the greater the pressure inside the blood vessels. As a result, systolic blood pressure increases, states PT Direct. A person's systolic blood pressure is the amount of pressure in the arteries when the heart muscle contracts, as defined by American Heart Association.

Aerobic exercise lowers blood pressure and makes the heart stronger, notes WebMD. WebMD recommends that adults get at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity per day, five days per week. Brisk walking counts as moderate physical activity. Exercising vigorously for 20 minutes per day, three to four days per week, also benefits the heart. Jogging is an example of a vigorous, aerobic exercise.

Individuals with a history of high blood pressure must use caution when beginning an exercise program. Dr. Vic Froelicher recommends exercising consistently, standing up slowly after exercising on the floor and avoiding competitive exercise, reports Selene Yeager of Prevention.

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