News & Insights 8 September 2022

Hypertension: It’s national ‘Know Your Numbers!’ week – How moving more can help you lower those numbers!

At KiActiv® we believe in the power of everyday physical activity to prevent a number of health conditions. This week is dedicated to the UK’s biggest blood pressure testing and awareness event called ‘Know Your Numbers!’. Therefore, we thought we would take this opportunity to discuss how optimising your everyday physical activity can help you to reduce the health risks associated with hypertension and other cardiovascular diseases (CVDs).

Hypertension is a condition where the individual affected has high blood pressure and rarely has noticeable symptoms and thus is often referred to as the “silent killer”. The condition is also a major risk factor for developing CVD and is associated with around 50% of the stroke and heart attack cases (British Heart Foundation [BHF], 2022). Other CVDs often caused by hypertension include coronary heart disease and heart failure (NHS, 2022; Slama, Susic and Frohlich, 2002). According to the BHF, around 7.6 million people in the UK currently live with a heart condition and approximately 25% of them lose their lives due to the disease. This makes prevention of hypertension a highly important goal in order to reduce fatality and disability cases caused by hypertension and the further cardiovascular complications that it might cause.

The good news is that the favourable effect of physical movement on blood pressure reduction have been well established (Diaz and Shimbo, 2013). Physical activity and hypertension development have a consistent, dose-response relationship whereby the more you move, the more you are doing to reduce your risk of hypertension.

Physical activity is something that is often dreaded or feared, and there is a common misconception that for physical activity to be valuable it must be vigorous or exercise based. Therefore, it is important to define what physical activity refers to:

“Any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that results in energy expenditure,” (Caspersen, Powell and Christenson, 1985).

This means that any physical movement we engage in, such as cycling to work, walking to the shops, gardening, cooking dinner, and dancing, would all be examples of physical activity and can all have a positive impact on our health and wellbeing.

In addition to being more physically active, we should all also aim to reduce the amount of time we spend sedentary. Sedentary time is any time you’re burning less than 1.8x the amount of energy that you would be burning at complete rest. Reducing sedentary time is crucial for people who are ‘prehypertensive’ as they are considered to have a high-risk of developing hypertension and/or CVD (Diaz and Shimbo, 2013).

Imparting an understanding that physical activity is more than just exercise and sport, and that every move matters, is vital for empowering effective self-management for both managing hypertension and for preventing it occurring in the first place. It’s important to remember that every move you make matters. This can be anything from doing housework to spending more time walking outside. At KiActiv® we encourage people to explore their physical activity interests and optimise their day-to-day movement in the context of their health, capacity and environment.

At KiActiv® we are dedicated to making everyday movement a personalised medicine that delivers better health and wellbeing for everyone. For this reason, our team of experts designed KiActiv® to put you in control of managing your own health and well-being, by combining unique insights into your daily activities and behaviours with the knowledge, skills and confidence to make sustainable change to your lifestyle.

The KiActiv® Team