Blood pressure is a measure of the force that the blood exerts against vessel walls.

It helps move the blood through the vessels. Most individuals have had their blood pressure taken during a visit to the doctor.

Blood pressure reading infographics you can download.

 

Measuring blood pressure is important before starting an exercise program. Since high blood pressure, or hypertension, is one of the alterable risk factors for heart disease, and since an estimated one in four Americans has borderline or high blood pressure, routine measuring of blood pressure is essential. 

Blood pressure chart showing norms for men and women

 

Blood pressure chart (Word Format)

Blood pressure chart (Pdf Format)

 

Causes of High Blood Pressure 

Hypertension or high blood pressure is a condition in which an individual has a higher resting blood pressure than normal.

Hypertension is associated with a variety of factors such as: 

  • High blood lipid levels
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Aging
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Race
  • Heredity factors
  • Excessive stress
  • Excessive sodium in diet 

 

What is normal blood pressure?

Normal, or average, blood pressure is usually thought to be around 120/80 mm Hg. A person is not considered to have borderline hypertension until the values reach exceed 140/90 mm Hg.


ACSM defines diagnosed hypertension as systolic blood pressure greater than 140, and/or diastolic blood pressure greater than 90 mm Hg, on at least two separate occasions, or if the individual is on high blood pressure medication.

The top number, or higher value, is referred to as the systolic pressure, or the amount of pressure of force exerted against the arterial walls immediately after the heart has contracted.

The bottom number or diastolic pressure, may be thought of as the "run off" force, or the amount of pressure still remaining against the arterial walls as the heart relaxes before the next contraction.

Read more: What is normal blood pressure?