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Health Team

Make fun, fitness your New Year's resolutions

Posted January 6, 2015

A New Year's resolution to exercise more can have added benefits in easing high blood pressure, also known as hypertension.

Hypertension can be present without signs or symptoms in about 1 in 3 U.S. adults. The easiest way to bring it under control is with lifestyle changes like losing weight and regular exercise.

To see true improvement, that exercise resolution must become a habit, and to make that happen, Dr. Allen Mask recommends making it fun.

If a treadmill in a gym is not your style, find some other way you enjoy moving. It could be aerobic dancing or yoga or biking. Anything that gets your heart beating faster for 30 minutes five times a week counts.

Try enlisting the help of a personal trainer. A professional can help get you started with a safe and effective routine and can hold you accountable.

Make sure your exercise helps you gain strength. Use small weights or exercise bands to both lose body fat and boost muscle mass which increases your metabolic rate.

Swimming is a great cardiovascular workout. The muscle resistance of moving in water makes it more efficient exercise, and it is less stressful on the joints.

When you can't set aside 30 minutes for exercise, consider mini-workouts, like jogging in place for 10 minutes.

If you are technologically savvy, consider an app or other fitness tracker to provide you with feedback.

There are now many devices worn on the wrist that help you track your heart rate. An inexpensive pedometer can track the distance you walk in a day. A healthy person should aim for 10,000 steps.

Apps can also help you make healthy food choices, track calories and monitor weight loss.

Before embarking on any new exercise routine, it's always a good idea to check with your doctor. It's important to pace yourself early and build up to more strenuous exercise.

Anytime exercise begins to hurt, makes you dizzy or creates discomfort in your chest, arms or throat, stop and see a doctor. Don't overdo it.

Losing as few as 10 pounds of weight can lower blood pressure or help prevent high blood pressure in the first place.
 

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