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A study from the University of Maryland, College Park, shows that lifting heavy weights does not cause sustained high blood pressure.

Exercise raises blood pressure because pressure is determined by the force of your heart contracting times the resistance of the blood vessels against the flow of blood. When you exercise, your heart muscles contracts with much greater pressure to increase blood flow to your exercising muscles.

Normal blood pressure is under 120 when your heart contracts and under 80 when it relaxes. When you lift a heavy weight, such as performing a leg press, your blood pressure can rise from 120/80 to 400 over 200. When you run, your blood pressure can rise to around 200 over 80. This study shows that, within minutes after finishing exercising, your blood pressure returns to normal and regular exercisers have lower blood pressures than people who do not exercise. If you have a weak heart or high blood pressure, check with your doctor before starting a weight-lifting program.

Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise June, 2001

Checked 8/31/05

May 21st, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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