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Your Guide to Lowering Blood Pressure NHLBI Logo
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Moderate-Level Physical Activities

Being physically active is one of the most important things you can do to prevent or control high blood pressure. It also helps to reduce your risk of heart disease.

It doesn't take a lot of effort to become physically active. All you need is 30 minutes of moderate-level physical activity on most days of the week. Examples of such activities are brisk walking, bicycling, raking leaves, and gardening.

Common Chores Sporting Activities
 Washing and waxing a car for 45-60 minutes
 Washing windows or floors for 45-60 minutes
 Gardening for 30-45 minutes
 Wheeling self in wheelchair for 30-40 minutes
 Pushing a stroller 1½ miles in 30 minutes
 Raking leaves for 30 minutes
 Shoveling snow for 15 minutes
 Stair walking for 15 minutes
 Playing volleyball for 45-60 minutes
 Playing touch football for 45 minutes
 Walking 2 miles in 30 minutes (1 mile in 15 minutes)
 Shooting baskets (basketball) for 30 minutes
 Dancing fast (social) for 30 minutes
 Performing water aerobics for 30 minutes
 Swimming laps for 20 minutes
 Playing basketball for 15-20 minutes
 Jumping rope for 15 minutes
 Running 1½ miles in 15 minutes (1 mile in 10 minutes)

You can even divide the 30 minutes into shorter periods of at least 10 minutes each. For instance: Use stairs instead of an elevator, get off a bus one or two stops early, or park you car at the far end of the lot at work. If you already engage in 30 minutes of moderate-level physical activity a day, you can get added benefits by doing more. Engage a moderate-level activity for a longer period each day or engage in a more vigorous activity.

Most people don't need to see a doctor before the start a moderate-level physical activity. You should check first with your doctor if you have heart trouble or have had a heart attack, if you're over age 50 and are not used to moderate-level physical activity, if you have a family history of heart disease at an early age, or if you have any other serious health problem.

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