Range of Motion offers Exercise Physiologist designed one-on-one exercise sessions for individuals with this condition. Book a complimentary consultation or contact us to find out more.

The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.

Based on guidelines provided by the American College of Sports Medicine.

Condition Overview:

Hypertension is classified based on systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Optimal   <120/80
Normal   <130/85
High-Normal  130-139/85-89
Stage 1  140-159/90-99
Stage 2  160-179/100-109
Stage 3  180+/110+

For individuals with elevated blood pressure, risks of the following events increase:

  • Non-fatal cardiovascular disease
  • Fatal cardiovascular disease 
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Stroke
  • Renal disease
  • All cause mortality

The vast majority of cases of hypertension are due to increased peripheral resistance, though high cardiac output initially is also present.

Short Term Response to Exercise:

As with healthy individuals, exercise causes a short term rise in systolic blood pressure. This rise is similar to that experienced in these healthy individuals, though due to the higher baseline level, the resulting blood pressure is higher. Diastolic blood pressure may remain unchanged or rise slightly.

Following exercise, an immediate moderate drop in systolic blood pressure may be experienced for up to nine hours. This has been attributed to a reduced stroke volume, rather than a reduction in peripheral resistance, though this may play a minor role.

Exercise performance may be impaired by the use of certain antihypertensive medications. That being said, if the drugs are well tolerated, and if lifestyle modification is present, exercise tolerance may increase.

Long Term Response to Exercise:

Research shows that cardiorespiratory based training may elicit a drop in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and reduces the expected increase in blood pressure in individuals predisposed to hypertension. For these reasons, exercise is effective as both a stand alone, and adjunct treatment for the condition.

Suggested mechanisms for the positive effects of cardiorespiratory exercise on blood pressure are:

  • Decrease in norepinephrine levels.
  • Increase in vasodilator substances (thus reducing peripheral resistance).
  • Modifications of insulin levels.
  • Changes in kidney function.

Condition Management:

The management of hypertension should involve the lowering of blood pressure to below 140/90, while simultaneously managing other cardiovascular risk factors.

The following lifestyle modifications are recommended:

  • Lose weight if appropriate.
  • Limit alcohol intake.
  • Increase cardiorespiratory exercise.
  • Reduce sodium intake.
  • Maintain intake of dietary potassium, magnesium and calcium.
  • Quit smoking if appropriate.
  • Additionally, antihypertensive drugs may be used based on GP prescription.

Range of Motion’s Treatment Methodologies:

Range of Motion designs specific exercise programs unique to the individual based on The Range of Motion Model of Health. Modifications to this basic framework are made based on the specific recommendations outlined below.


  • Rate of perceived exertion 11-14/20.
  • 15 minutes per session.
  • Three days per week.


  • Rate of perceived exertion 13/20.
  • One set of 10-15 repetitions.
  • Two to three days per week.


  • Not to discomfort.
  • 20 seconds per stretch.
  • Three days per week.

Visit The Heart Foundation website.

Book a complimentary consultation or contact us to find out more.

Gordon, N. F., (2003). Hypertension. In: Durstine, J. L., Moore, G. E. (2003), ACSM’s Exercise Management for Persons with Chronic Diseases and Disabilities 2nd Ed. (pp 76-80) American College of Sports Medicine, Human Kinetics.