hypertension and exercise: I'm wanting to... - Weight Loss NHS

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hypertension and exercise

kayak402020 April

I'm wanting to start exercising and actually feel a bit scared as I get dizzy spells and pulsing headaches with my hypertension. Any advice would be so helpful.

19 Replies

This is a peer to peer support forum for weight loss, kayak40. We're not qualified to offer medical advice and suggest you see your GP about your problem.

If you need advice or assistance with weight loss, then we're your people. You may find this interesting


Exercise is good for health and well-being, but not essential for weight loss. You may find it easier to correct your diet first, then think about gradually introducing exercise into your daily routine. Walking is excellent for this.

All of the information you need about the forum can be found in Pinned Posts healthunlocked.com/nhsweigh... and I hope you'll be joining all the Events, Challenges and Clubs that we run, especially a weigh-in and the daily diary.

We've found active participation to be key to successful weight loss and, of course, it's a good way to get to know people, find inspiration and share support and encouragement.

Wishing you all the best :)

kayak402020 April in reply to moreless

Thank you Moreless, yes I have got advice and it's fine for me to exercise, I guess just any advice for starting exercising gradually and how to start in a way that will build confidence.

Enxo2019 November in reply to kayak40

Hi - you're here so that's a great start! Lots of good folk on here with great advice! We are not doctors though so you need to balance your keeness to start exercising with a healthy dose of speaking to your doctor!

Enxo2019 November in reply to Enxo

If you look at the C25K programme it is a VERY ACHIEVABLE BUILD UP to a VERY ACHIEVABLE TARGET! I've got a BMI of nearly 40! I was just over but then lost a few kg - thats when I started the programme.

Enxo2019 November in reply to Enxo

Also you've got to fight the boredom of this isolation...very eassy to have a cup of coffe and one, oh ok, two digestives with it! That's me anyway!

But, if you feel queesy etc..speak to your doctor - maybe swimming etc is a better way to go.

kayak402020 April in reply to Enxo

Thank you Enxo! yes good advice I will try and set an interim goal before trying running or anything too vigorous. Just avoiding the temptation of the sofa and biscuits when we're on lockdown will be an achievement.

Carjul602020 March in reply to kayak40

I would start with flexibility type exercises, stretching, gentle squats, deadbugs and easy low impact stuff. Maybe brisk walking, a bit of rope skipping etc. You could do a few to start with and build it up day by day. Good luck.

kayak402020 April in reply to moreless

Thank you moreless for your well wishes and the useful video. I took your advice started with walking today, I've just ordered some scales so will join the weigh-in once they arrive. I will join in with the events etc, as I'm already inspired by reading some of the posts.

morelessAdministrator in reply to kayak40

That's great news kayak40, we'll look forward to sharing your journey :)

Start with the simplest exercise, walking.

Good shoes, warm clothes, phone in your pocket with a single headphone in one ear listening to music or podcasts but still able to hear what is going around you. Take it as slowly as you need to, but build it up; every couple of days start walking a little faster or a little further. If your first few walks are just a couple of minutes long and very slow, that's fine: you will get fitter. Listen to your body, and don't push it harder than it wants to go. I wouldn't do anything but walking until you can walk briskly for an hour every day. Definitely don't start running before then. And an hours brisk walking everyday would be more exercise than most people get - you will be fitter than most of your friends by then.

I'm not a doctor or any sort of expert, but if you have been told you can exercise you can definitely walk.

You might want to buy a home blood pressure monitor, so you can keep an eye on it while it's not safe to visit the doctors. Then you can call your doctor and have an informed discussion about your condition. Getting fitter may lower your blood pressure, and there is only one way to find out.

Good luck. I hope you will share your progress.

Hi and welcome kayak40

As others have said, just start off gradually - don't try and do too much too soon.

After a lifetime of trying to lose weight (overweight from the age of 9), at the age of 49 back in 2012 - I decided that enough was enough. I managed to lose 4.5 stone in 2 and a half years through calorie counting and logging/weighing all of my food. The first 18 months I didn't include any form of exercise - I am disabled (Thalidomide impaired) and my excess weight was making even regular daily activity really difficult.

So in 130 weeks my average weekly weight loss was less than half a pound - of course some weeks I lost more, others I gained... but I am trying to impress upon you the importance of just keeping on going, even though the weight may not come off as quickly as you would like it to.
 Think of it as a permanent lifestyle change, taking one step at a time to address your eating habits. Each change should be completely embedded into your every day life - and more importantly, your mindset,

I cannot stress enough how important this part of the weight loss journey is - being able to recognise just how much we are eating and address that. It is not about cutting out any foods but about being able to make informed choices about the foods we eat . Also about learning how to behave differently around food. Just because food is in front of us does not mean to say that we have to eat it! Being able to exercise control and moderate intake is paramount.

I re-gained some of the weight I lost, then lost it again and have now managed to more or less maintain for the past 3 years around 10 stone. Still considered "over weight", but my goodness, how much healthier and fitter I am now. Used to get asthma, no longer affected. Could barely stand and walk when I started. Now am able to do things that I would never have believed. See my Blog post for just one example of regular tests of my improved fitness and mobility: flidfit.com/2019/09/29/smas...

I don't view exercise as a way to earn additional calories to eat - I use it as a way to remain flexible and independent. It's important not to be reliant on exercise to lose weight as firstly it only accounts for about 20% of weight loss (80% is achieved through food intake) and also if you injure yourself or are unable to exercise for any period of time, you suddenly have to reign back on the amount you are consuming.

I do a stretch and bounce seated routine around 4-7 times a week which lasts around an hour.

I try to do cardio exercise as often as possible, but because of my disability, it's quite a challenge. For that I walk and run (HIIT) on a special treadmill called an Alter G which is able to support a percentage of my body weight as I walk and run - currently I exercise at 80% of my body weight. I do this for 30 minutes every other week. I'd love to do it weekly, but I need assistance to get into the machine and can only get this support fortnightly.

I don't deny myself anything in terms of food - however, I have changed over the course of my weight loss to eat much more mindfully - considering "Do I really want to eat this?" ahead of eating food that is particularly calorific or not very healthy. Even leaving food that I'm not enjoying - never heard of in my "previous life"!

If I want to east a slice cake - I've worked out the calories beforehand and if I chose to have a slice then it DEFINITELY has to be worth it! If making cake, I slice and freeze any remaining cake in packs of two so that myself and my husband can enjoy it on other days rather than knowing it's there and needing to be consumed to stop it going off.

I have reduced the number of times I eat out as it's impossible for me to stay within my low (1100 calorie) limit by eating out regularly - even if I choose wisely. But to be honest, I am very happy cooking my own meals and eating those, as I know precisely what's in them - and I love, love LOVE my vegetables. I hardly ever get a takeaway (perhaps 1/2 times a year - usually at others instigation when I am visiting friends). I used to resent these things, but I now accept and embrace them. I no longer view this as a tortuous journey but more a new way of life.

I view my way of eating as keeping myself as healthy as I can in order to minimise the risk of developing middle aged illnesses (diabetes, stroke, heart attack...)

I don't judge my success by what others achieve - I just try to do the best that I can for myself and in a way that works well for me.

It does help that I have an extremely supportive husband who's always been happy to eat the same as I do (meals and quantities) - even though he doesn't need to lose weight. He has lots of little "extras" to make up.

I have just kept on going.... as it's what works for me.

I hope this helps.

Gonti10 kg in reply to Pineapple27

Brilliant reply Pineapple - I dont think I had clocked all your story before. - respect!

kayak402020 April

Hi Pineapple27 Feels inspiring and encouraging to hear of the changes you have made and the difference it has made.

I agree exercise shouldn't be a way of winning a chance to eat more calories I'm hoping to make long-lasting changes with food - I love my veggies too! - and with the right kinds of exercise. I love yoga but also want to include more cardio and strength building exercise. Thank you so much for your encouraging and valuable advice.

Pineapple274 stone in reply to kayak40

You'll build stamina more quickly than you think kayak40 . Better to do exercise in small chunks each day and build up the routine - rather than go crazy on one day and spend 2/3 days recovering (that's the method my husband seems to go for - has injured himself twice in recent weeks overdoing things!)

Bee-bop2st 7lbs

Hi Kayak,

I was going to suggest Yoga as an easy start into exercising. Walking is also a good way to slowly increase your movement as others say, don't rush into it. Plan a route that has stopping spaces, such as benches, if you can.

Good luck with your walking

Hello Kayak,

I don’t often post much but your story reminded me very much of where I was with hypertension. Last May I couldn’t stand up without having to sit down very quickly with dizziness. I was morbidly obese and over 20st and struggled to tie my shoelaces. My BP without medication which I often forgot to take was off the charts.

I decided to start walking, just a few K a day and this was very hard, I would be very dizzy and nauseous but I kept going as I could see I was starting to loose weight, then I started eating a bit better and then the weight really started going to the point one day I started to run. I did about 100 yards and someone suggested I did couch to 5k. I involve my GP in all my positive change desisions.

I never looked back. My first C25K after graduating was 41 minutes, last night I did 24.59 in less that 6 months.

My dizziness is gone, my BP is normal and just before covid came my GP said he would review my meds as today I’m 13st with a normal BMI.

My point is that it can be done, involve your GP, I found mine was more than happy that I made a couple of appointments during the year to discuss proactive things rather than just use them for reactive treatment!

Good luck with it all, tough time to start, but there is never a good time!


KirstiefieldRestart Jan 2020

I don't really have any advice apart speak to your Dr about what sort of exercise you can do.also start of with small ones that u can do sitting down. Take care and good luck

Just start with walking everyday. The NHS has a lovely app called Active 10 which gets you moving for 3 x 10 minutes per day for a total of 30 minutes. But you can do more. Than you can put in some very light exercise, so many on YouTube to really get move and up your heart rate nice and slowly.

Gonti10 kg

Hi Kayak, your name suggests an aspiration - am I right? .

You should know from the great replies here and browsing other posts that adopting a healthy lifestyle including lots more activity and exercise is doable, is a brilliant goal in itself and might eventually help your hypertension.

You have got great replies here.

I have a long way to go to get as healthy as I would like but I want you to know that I felt better in myself after three days of getting started : then after about 2 weeks when I started taking part in this forum I got much faster results.

Three months in from adopting healthy eating and regular exercise, my headaches and tiredness have gone, my legs are no longer puffy and my ankles have reappeared and my appetite is more often than not under control. I run up stairs no bannister.

AS moreless says we are not trainers but since you have seen a doc I would add four things from my own experience. Firstly like Subtlebadger says walking not running until you can do 3 miles ( that might take months). Then there are fantastic home exercises and stretches on the NHS website . Next as well as exercise get off the sofa and spend more time just moving around. Finally eating properly and weightloss unavoidable - lose the biscuits.

It's an adventure. Enjoy it. Best of luck.

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