Exercise vs Medication to Lower Your Blood Pressure

How to lower blood pressure. Effect of exercise vs medication
Source: https://lasvegassun.com/native/mountain-view/2017/jul/03/understanding-the-highs-and-lows-of-your-blood-pre/

Blood pressure is a very common problem, particularly as we get older. It can cause a lot of health issues further down the track if nothing is done about it.

So you might be asking how to lower blood pressure

If you didn’t know already, aerobic exercise is a great long term solution for keeping your blood pressure in check. It’s the best kind of natural remedy and costs absolutely nothing!

The only question is – how effective is it?

We’ve had a look at some scientific studies to see what effect exercise (specifically, aerobic exercise) has on lowering your blood pressure when compared to medication.

Aerobic Exercise

Aerobic exercise is your typical cardio exercise. So anything involving long durations but reasonably low intensity. For example:

  • walking,
  • running
  • cycling
  • swimming

Aerobic exercise has been proven to lower your blood pressure (specifically your systolic blood pressure) by 6.9 mmHg or units.

Meanwhile, walking has been proven to lower your blood pressure by between 5.2 and 11 units of systolic blood pressure. Again, quite a measurable effect.

Resistance training (strength training or weights) can help lower your blood pressure by between 2.7 and 2.9 units. We’re not necessarily talking about lifting heavy weights, but even just machine workouts or light resistance weights. This is a more modest effect on your blood pressure, but definitely doesn’t mean that resistance workouts don’t have other health benefits!


Now, if we look at the medication, you can see straight away that the effect of medication is definitely more sizable. If you didn’t know already, there are different types of blood pressure medication you can be on, with the most major type being ACE inhibitors.

Below is a table for your reference:

Medication Units of blood pressure lowered
ACE Inhibitors 12.5
Alpha1-blockers 15.5
Beta1-blockers 14.8
Calcium channel blockers 15.3

What should I choose?

Exercise is a natural remedy with no harmful side effects and a lot of great health benefits, so it makes sense to try to stick to exercise where possible.

Disclaimer: Before you change or make decisions, always consult your GP about how you should go about changing your lifestyle to control your blood pressure, whether that be exercise, medication, or both. It is possible however in general to use exercise to a certain degree to control your blood pressure.

Where can I get guidance for an exercise plan that suits me?

Exercise is the main focus of the Growing Younger programme which focuses on people over the age of 40 who want to feel younger, healthier and stronger. It has helped a number of people improve their lifestyles and control and lower blood pressure.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us on Facebook here or email us at alex@bodyfitphysio.com

 All the best!