Blood pressure generally is higher in the winter and lower in the summer. That’s because low temperatures cause your blood vessels to narrow — which increases blood pressure because more pressure is needed to force blood through your narrowed veins and arteries.
And according to the Mayo Clinic, Cold weather impacts the elderly more than other age groups. Physicians recommend older persons and those with chronically high blood pressure closely monitor their blood pressure during the winter.
However, even if you’re not pushing the 60yr. mark, if you run and have high blood pressure, you need to keep a wary eye on your blood pressure as you get out during these cold winter months to keep your training on track as you get ready for the spring running season.
There are new guidelines on what makes up a satisfactory blood pressure reading. It’s always a good idea to get a regular checkup with your physician and if you haven’t told him/her that you are an active runner, or with the New Year, trying to adopt a healthier lifestyle by taking up running, you need your physician to be aware so they can provide you with what and how much you should be doing. Not only during the winter months but all year long. As you can see above, the cold constricts your blood vessels making it harder to push that precious fluid through your veins, but things also change yet again during the hot, summer months.
So, one of the things you should have with you in your “Go-To-Training Kit” is a blood pressure monitor. But, as we said above. Find out from your physician what your ideal blood pressure for your age and physical condition should be both before you train for your run and after.
Then make it a point to monitor your pressure and if it is indeed a health factor, keep a log of what those readings are and consult regularly with your physician. Your medication may need to be adjusted at different times of the year based on climate change.
In order to do this the right way, you need a good, accurate blood pressure monitor. One that is easy to use, so you will use it, in order so you can track your pressure and have that data available to you on a weekly basis. One such monitor is the ADC Automatic Advantage Wrist Digital Blood Pressure Monitor.
It’s a Wrist based Blood Pressure Monitor, so there’s no problem with rolling up your sleeves to take your pressure. It’s also portable, economical, and easy to use. Measurements include systolic pressure, diastolic pressure and pulse. Which is all you need to give you the readings you need to act on! The ADC6015 features a recall of the last 30 readings, and Smart Logic Technology that determines ideal inflation level.
Remember, any “Exercise” including running/jogging, or even a brisk walking regimen can actually help you control high blood pressure without the use of additional medication. It may lower diastolic and systolic blood pressure readings by as much as seven points, states the American College of Sports Medicine. One of the key factors that you always need to remember, especially when running in the colder weather is to warm up. And I’m not talking about sitting in front of a fire in the house. In the winter, your muscles tighten up. So it’s important to spend about 10-15 minutes with some simple stretching, lunging and deep knee bends. This not only gets some elasticity going with your muscles and joints but it also starts to get that blood flowing a bit more, than if you just went from doing nothing to starting a fast jog out of the doors to start your exercise.
Now that you know that the cold can really have an impact on raising your blood pressure, take precautions to dress appropriately for the colder weather as you take your daily runs. Drink enough fluids so your muscles stay elastic and if at any time you feel the strain is a bit beyond what you are used to feeling, Stop, Rest and Breathe shallowly until you regain your normal state.
Running in the cold weather will keep you on track to perform well for those spring events that are on your radar, but training for them won’t do you any good if you suffer ill effects from not paying attention to your heart and elevated blood pressure. If you suffer from high blood pressure and have a good blood pressure monitor, use it! If you don’t have one. GET ONE, I listed a great choice above, from our sponsor, HeartRateMonitorsUSA.com. Get familiar with it and again, consult with your physician on a regular basis in order to make sure you’re at the starting gate come the spring!