Studies show that exercising, even moderately, helps keep blood pressure in check. In this case, in particular, it would allow people who have a family predisposition to develop hypertension to reduce their risk of developing it.

Recently, Victor’s father passed away due to a heart problem caused by high blood pressure . For that reason, although his blood pressure is normal, Victor is a little worried because he knows that he is a little overweight and that he has a higher risk of developing hypertension , due to a hereditary issue.

It is natural that Victor’s concern appears after such a sad moment and that he begins to make comparisons between his lifestyle and that of his father. The fact of having a father or a mother who has suffered from high blood pressure (added to the extra kilos of him) make him a person more likely to be hypertensive. For example, there is research in this regard that estimates that having a parent with high blood pressure can increase the chances of developing this condition, between 35 and 65 percent.

The good thing in this case is that Victor came to the office when there are no signs of the disease yet and he can start changing his habits to reduce the chances of his blood pressure becoming a chronic health problem immediately.

As with other conditions, such as diabetes and cancer, eating a healthy diet along with exercise is the best and most natural way to stay healthy.

And if your situation is similar to Victor’s, the first suggestion is to reduce the salt in your diet as much as possible. That includes sodium, which is usually present in many prepared products for daily consumption, such as broths and preserves (check the labels carefully before choosing and remember that the recommended sodium or salt intake for a healthy adult should not exceed 2,300 mg per day (which is equivalent to a teaspoon of salt per day), although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recently suggested that perhaps we should lower this amount to 1,500 mg per day which is even less).

Also, it is very important that you exercise regularly. This will not only help you lose weight and keep your circulatory system, which includes your heart, healthier, but also help your blood pressure stay in the range considered normal.

It doesn’t even have to be an intense sport. A recent study has shown that doing moderate exercise every week can reduce the chances of developing high blood pressure by up to 34 percent, in people who have a family predisposition to develop it (as is the case of Victor).

Specifically, according to researchers at the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina, in Columbia, in the United States, 150 minutes of walking per week (a little more than two hours in total) is enough to make a difference.

To arrive at these data, which were published in the specialized media Hypertension , the scientists evaluated more than 6,000 adults, of which a third had a family history of hypertension, either the mother or the father, and followed up on their physical activities for about five years.

They found that people who exercised a lot had a 42 percent lower chance of developing high blood pressure and those who exercised moderately had a 26 percent lower risk of developing high blood pressure, compared with those who did little or no physical activity.

Among people who had a parent with high blood pressure, those who were physically fit were only 16 percent more likely to develop high blood pressure, compared to those who exercised but had no family history of the disease.

In contrast, those who had a family history of high blood pressure and did not engage in physical activity or did so at a very low level were 70 percent more likely to develop high blood pressure, compared with those who did play sports and had no family history.