Exercise helps lower blood pressure for many people. Doctors and scientists have several ideas about how and why this works. Exercise causes many changes in the body which may affect blood pressure. It is likely that exercise lowers blood pressure through several of these changes happening at the same time.
One way exercise may help lower blood pressure is by reducing fat – especially the fat stored around body organs in the stomach region, which is called visceral fat. People with more visceral fat tend to have higher blood pressure. Reducing visceral fat can lower blood pressure. Exercise can reduce visceral fat.
Another way exercise may help lower blood pressure is by helping the body to get rid of salt. Increased salt in the blood can cause high blood pressure. Exercise may also decrease how much your blood pressure goes up when you eat salty foods.
Exercise also affects certain hormone levels in the body, like norepinephrine or epinephrine. These hormones raise blood pressure. Exercising lowers these hormone levels, which helps lower blood pressure.
In addition, exercise seems to improve your body’s response to insulin, a hormone that helps your body use or store the sugar you eat. A low response to insulin is related to high blood pressure.
Doctors and scientists think that exercise may lower blood pressure by causing all of these changes at the same time.