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Strength Training and Blood Pressure

randomax

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Hey everybody -
I've been doing stronglifts/starting strength for around 4-5 months and have progressed decently well on most of the lifts. As most of you know, the program recommends a consistent increase in the weight every week till you "fail" to do the required number of reps. The program has worked out well for me and I've gained probably around 20 pounds. However, now that the weights have gotten heavier I feel that the days I do a heavy workout, I can't sleep properly and my head feels pretty heavy. I recently took my BP casually the other day and it came out pretty high (around 135/90) which really surprised me since I'm only 29. Has anyone else experienced this?

I did a little bit of research online and it seems doctors recommend "some" strength training. But clearly starting strength and stronglift recommend pretty aggressive weight loading and I'm wondering if this has implications for BP. Overall, I'm a pretty healthy guy - fairly skinny and have a very balanced diet.

I'll be taking an appointment with my doctor for a full physical as well just to get a professional opinion on this issue as well. Thanks as always for your thoughts.
 

Betz

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I've noticed that my BP will be higher after exercise. I'm a stress case and I think I elevate my BP (It usually hovers around 130/70; I am trying to get the systolic down under 120). Talk it over with your doctor. Most doctors won't be too concerned about your systolic until it hits 140, especially if you are otherwise healthy.
 

RedLantern

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do you know what you BP was before you started the program?
 

Sunnydale

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You might try measuring your blood pressure at different times during the day, and see if the reading is consistent. My blood pressure has gone down since I began lifting, but I also eat low carb, plus take a few supplements thought to help with lowering blood pressure. So can't say which item, or combination, that helped lower mine.
 

randomax

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I'll try and see how much of a difference its making. I didn't really check BP before the program either.

I've got an appointment with the doc and was thinking of only starting working out after I visit him. I have noticed though over the last couple of days that my BP is around 120/75 in the morning but then increases to 135/85ish in the evening. It could be that the digital BP machine is out of whack.
 

Cool The Kid

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I've been lifting for 2 yrs, my doc says my blood pressure is fine. I also have the dog in my avatar which supposedly helps
 

raphaelargus

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Blood pressure naturally varies over the course of the day and by the type of your activities. It will rise with any kind of exercise, whether cardio or strength.

If you never had elevated BP before, it's probably not the strength training but your weight gain of 20 lbs that is elevating it now, especially if it was a dirty bulk.

What BP monitor are you using? If it is accurate, you should do something about your BP now. You're already in prehypertension stage. Once your systolic hits 140+ or your diastolic hits 90+, your doc will diagnose you as having hypertension. Depending on your location and insurance status, having that diagnosis on your records could be more troublesome than having moderately high blood pressure.
 

randomax

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Checked my BP around an hour after working out and it came up the same as the days I haven't worked out. I'm using one of those rite-aid digital BP machines - I've heard these digital machines are prone to errors so definitely want to go for a physical and get a more accurate measurement.

raphaelargus - that's an interesting point about the weight gain. It's happened over 6 months or so (I mentioned 4-5 months in the original post but it's actually been around 6 months) since I've been on the new regimen. I did increase my diet but have not really been eating anything unhealthy perse. I did add around half a gallon of whole milk in my diet.

Thanks all. I'll report back once I get my physical done.
 

shanker

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Weightlifting can cause a temporary increase in blood pressure. But, weightlifting can also have long-term benefits to blood pressure that outweigh the risk of a temporary spike for most people.

Cardio, on the other hand tends to decrease BP.

Alternate the two for the maximum body benefit.
 

Timbaland

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I think it could be partially due to the weight gain. Also before you take the blood pressure tests, try just sitting there with your eyes closed and breathe in and out slowly concentrating on your breathing for a minute. Then take your blood pressure. I have noticed on machines like these that just walking up stairs and sitting down will affect it.
 

randomax

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Update: So it turns out my BP is high: 135/90. I'm not sure what I can change in my diet since I don't think it's high on sodium or unhealthy, I'm going to add 15-20 minutes of cardio at the end of my strength training. Thinking of the rowing machine.
 

randomax

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Wanted to provide another update. I added 15 minutes of rowing to my workout schedule and have become more careful about my sodium intake. Not sure if these two factors made the difference but BP has gone down around 10 points now.
 

Timbaland

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You can also try taking fish oil for the Omega-3 fatty acids. That helps.
 

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