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Healthy Heart Reports

High Blood Pressure With Lifting Weights

A study from the University of Maryland, College Park, shows that lifting heavy weights does not cause sustained high blood pressure.

Exercise raises blood pressure because pressure is determined by the force of your heart contracting times the resistance of the blood vessels against the flow of blood. When you exercise, your heart muscles contracts with much greater pressure to increase blood flow to your exercising muscles.

Normal blood pressure is under 140 when your heart contracts and under 90 when it relaxes. When you lift a heavy weight, such as performing a leg press, your blood pressure can rise from 120/80 to 400 over 200. When you run, your blood pressure can rise to around 200 over 80. This study shows that, within minutes after finishing exercising, your blood pressure returns to normal and regular exercisers have lower blood pressures than people who do not exercise. If you have a weak heart or high blood pressure, check with your doctor before starting a weight-lifting program.

Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise June, 2001


Copyright 2001
Dr. Mirkin's opinions and the references cited are for information only, and are not intended to diagnose or prescribe. For your specific diagnosis and treatment, consult your doctor or health care provider.

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