What is Hypertension?

Hypertension refers to consistently elevated resting blood pressure present in the arteries. Arteries are the structures that allow blood to circulate through the body providing the supply of required nutrients to enable our body to function. Blood pressure is measured using a sphygmomanometer and can be measured using a valid and reliable automatic machine or by a GP or an allied health professional (like an exercise physiologist or physio). Blood pressure is measured via two values. These measures include the systolic value (first value) and the diastolic value (second value). Hypertension is diagnosed when a resting systolic value of >140mmHg and diastolic value of >90mmHg is present when resting.


Blood Pressure Category Systolic BP (mmHg) Diastolic BP (mmHg)
Normal <120 <80
High-Normal 120-139 80-89
Grade 1 Hypertension 140-159 90-99
Grade 2 Hypertension 160-179 100-109
Grade 3 Hypertension >180 >110


Importance of measuring blood pressure

Blood pressure is an important measure to be taken, as undiagnosed or uncontrolled hypertension is a major risk factor in causing coronary artery disease, heart failure, stroke and many other diseases. Blood pressure is especially important to measure pre exercise when hypertension is present. This is important as blood pressure rises when performing physical activity and this is a normal bodily functional. If blood pressure is elevated too high during exercise this can cause a stroke or cardiac event.

How can I control my blood pressure?

A GP/Cardiologist, Exercise Physiologist and Dietician can all play a role in controlling a patient’s blood pressure. These specialists and allied health professionals are able to control a patient’s blood pressure through medication, exercise and dietary control respectively.

Evidence has shown blood pressure can be reduced by performing a habitual aerobic and resistance training program. The guidelines state that 2-3 days of resistance training and daily aerobic exercise should be performed per week. If you seek an Exercise Physiologist, they will tailor an individualised program to the needs and goals of each patient. This is important as not all patients can perform such exercise volumes or have had exposure to such exercise modalities. The good news is our body can adapt and with consistency, perform the healthy guidelines required to assist in controlling your blood pressure.