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Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure is strongly associated with cardiovascular diseases and is the leading cause of many other health complications. In our previous blog, we briefed the prevalence of hypertension in America, and its impact on employee wellness, productivity, and workplace culture. While every 1 out of 2 American adults were diagnosed with hypertension, it was the primary reason for almost half a million annual deaths in the US.

A long-term study by the American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association (ACC/AHA) showed that 21 million US adults were affected with hypertension mainly due to lifestyle factors, and they were recommended to make the needed modifications to their lifestyle habits. Almost 87 million US individuals with hypertension were prescribed medication along with lifestyle modifications. And so, it has proven beyond doubt that leading a healthy lifestyle can help prevent or avoid further risks associated with hypertension.

Physical Activity and Hypertension

Many studies have showed the benefits of exercise and physical activity for holistic health and employee wellness. Lack of physical activity is strongly associated with hypertension, and many studies show that adequate physical activity is one of the effective ways to regulate high blood pressure. Exercising well modulates the function of the sympathetic nervous system, which is a primary mechanism to regulate blood pressure. Likewise, adequate exercising also helps in maintaining healthy body weight and BMI, which in turn, plays a huge role in regulating blood pressure.

Fitbit published an article encouraging people to boost their physical activity and suggested a few effective ways to live an active life of holistic health. Here are some of those heart-healthy recommendations which employers can recommend through their corporate wellness programs to ensure employee health and wellness.

150 Minutes Of Weekly Moderate Activity

According to The American Heart Association, every person needs to get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity each week, which can be easily broken down as 30 minutes each day for 5 days a week. Such a regular activity routine will help to offset a sedentary lifestyle, helps the blood pump better, and improves blood circulation. This, in turn, lowers the heart rate and regulates blood pressure, keeping the cardiovascular system healthy.

Building Core Strength

Flexibility and core strength are vital to burn calories, maintain ideal body weight, reduce stress, all of which regulate blood pressure. Also, the right core strength and flexibility exercises improve body balance and make you strong. Tai Chi, yoga, and Pilates are some core-strengthening exercises that boost heart pumping rate and circulation. However, the right posture and repetitions should be followed to ensure no injury or fatigue.

Full-Body Aerobic Workouts

Full body exercises use more major muscle groups which makes the heart pump blood harder to these muscle groups, which in turn, strengthens the heart and regulates blood pressure. The best examples of full body workouts include swimming and cross-country skiing. Other exercises like lunges, burpees, and jumping jacks are also great ways of engaging the whole body, while ensuring adequate aerobic workout.

Strength and Resistance Training

Aerobic exercise has always been the most recommended type of physical activity for a healthy heart. However, strength and resistance training is also being suggested by many physicians and fitness experts for good heart health. Studies say that strength training increases HDL cholesterol levels and reduces the bad visceral fat around the heart. It also builds lean muscle and regulates blood pressure. Furthermore, it aids in sleeping well and increases bone density. Weight training, resistance bands, pushups, and pullups are common exercises that get the heart pumping harder like any aerobic exercise would do. According to the American Heart Association, strength training exercises can be done at least twice a week.

Interval Training

The trending cardiovascular exercise recommended by many fitness experts is Interval Training. In addition to improving heart health, interval training is considered the best overall body and weight loss exercise. This type of physical activity includes high-intensity exercise bursts alternating with active recovery times that are incremental. Such training varies the heart rate, thus optimizing vascular capacity and ultimately cleans up the fat from the bloodstream. For example, one minute of running can be followed by 2 minutes of walking. Similarly, 2 laps of freestyle swim can be combined with 4 laps of a much slower sidestroke. When done right, interval training can be fun and very effective.

With the COVID-19 pandemic restricting social interactions, many people are still concerned about getting back to the gyms. Following these home-friendly cardiovascular exercises, along with leading an active lifestyle can make a huge difference to overall health and employee wellness. Small changes and activities like taking the stairs, cleaning the house, and walking the dog or to the store, can help in overcoming the sedentary lifestyle.

Employers can offer well-designed corporate wellness programs that motivate employees to lead an active lifestyle. Offer wellness challenges that are fun and a good combination of exercise and activity for better heart health and employee holistic wellness. With technology advancing in every field, activity trackers have become a part of the health and wellness programs. Make sure the corporate wellness programs come with an employee wellness platform that allows connecting fitness trackers like Fitbit, etc., or other tracking apps like Strava, etc. With the progress being tracked and monitored all the time, it ensures employees are up moving on their feet.

Post Author: Admin