This is a MYTH.
Difficult, high-intensity workouts are not necessary for improving heart health or lowering blood pressure.
To the contrary, recent research coming out of New York University Medical Center suggests that the more often one engages in vigorous exercise the greater their risk of developing a certain form of heart disease called atrial fibrillation (AF). AF is a condition characterized by irregular, rapid heart rate. AF affects people in many ways, ranging from simple fainting to heart failure and stroke.
That doesn’t mean, however, that exercise isn’t an important ingredient of any heart health recipe. Indeed, exercise and heart health have a proven link. For example, there’s no doubt that regular physical activity strengthens your heart. A stronger heart uses less effort to pump blood through your body than a weaker heart. That should mean less pressure on your artery walls. So in turn if you are looking to keep your blood pressure down; exercise for lowering blood pressure will help greatly, but it does not have to be vigorous.
According to Mayo Clinic, regular moderate exercise could even help you lower your blood pressure as much as some prescription blood pressure drugs. It could also help you lose some weight.
If you’re wondering what constitutes “regular, moderate exercise,” the options are almost endless, from walking to gardening to dancing to riding a bike. Or, you may wish to look to the wisdom of the East for an array of other options, according to Dr. Mark Wiley. Dr. Wiley is an internationally renowned mind-body health practitioner, author, motivational speaker and teacher, and his advice is as follows:
“The long and short is this: the essence of the study indicates that breaking a sweat on a regular basis is bad for your heart. And history shows that marathoners and other top athletes die at a young age as a result of heart disease. And in China, where tai chi and qigong are practiced by millions, the rate of heart disease and young heart-related deaths is among the world’s lowest.
“No wonder slow-burn exercises like walking, yoga, tai chi and qigong are considered as the safest and most effective exercises around the world. And the world is a whole lot bigger than the ‘experts’ in the United States that get all the press.”