- Is increased blood pressure during exercise dangerous?
It depends on the person doing the exercise. During exercise, the heart pumps more blood and the body is subjected to more stress. An increase in blood pressure is therefore physiologic and expected. In the hypertension disorder, however, the high blood pressure is caused by a problem with the heart (heart is not functioning properly) or with the blood vessels (such as clogged or hardened blood vessels). In the case of exercise, it is due to normal physiology. In fact, many athletes develop a condition known as “Athletes heart” where their hearts increase in size to compensate for the body’s needs during the sport. This is not considered a dangerous condition.So it is important that athletes undergo medical examinations first before they participate in sports to ensure that they don’t have anything wrong with their heart or blood vessels before they start exercising. I would like to point out that medical examinations are not perfect however, and we have had cases in the past where even professional athletes, who presumably have access to the best medical care in their country, suffered from heart problems while playing. Known examples of these are football players Piermario Morosini and Fabrice Muamba.
- Can the high blood pressure produced during exercise lead to anything dangerous?
Yes it can. In fact, I do know of a few people who died because an aneurysm in their brain ruptured while they were doing sports activities. One of them was a 40 year old man who was just biking to stay fit. This is unfortunate, and more unfortunate still is that the test to find these aneurysms is not usually done prior to participation in sports, nor is this test a common daily routine. As mentioned in my previous answer, heart problems can also occur if these athletes have a predisposing heart condition prior to participating in the sport. These issues can be a problem especially for weekend warriors who have no training in their sports and often lack professional supervision.
- Why do some athletes suffer hypertension when they retire from their sport?
While athletes are regularly exercising, the body’s carbon dioxide levels are kept at a healthy level because of their exercise. Unfortunately, without regular exercise, the carbon dioxide levels in their body may decrease to an unhealthy level. Also, most athletes are trained to do deep breathing during exercise. Unfortunately, many of these athletes will continue with their deep breathing pattern even when they don’t exercise anymore. When athletes retire from a sport, they stop the activity which kept their carbon dioxide levels healthy – which is exercise – and often keep the deep breathing pattern which contributes to a decreased unhealthy level of carbon dioxide. This leads to hyperventilation which contributes greatly to hypertension.
- Can Oxygen Advantage Breathe Light exercises help bring down blood pressure related to sports?
Definitely. Breathe Light exercise’s benefits are threefold – first, it helps train the body to tolerate higher levels of carbon dioxide. Higher levels of carbon dioxide will open the blood vessels and bring down blood pressure even during aerobic exercises. This tolerance to higher levels of carbon dioxide can significantly reduce deep breathing and in turn reduce fatigue. Secondly, the Breathe Light exercise improves the blood flow to vital organs which would have been cut-off during deep breathing. Athletes commonly suffer from problems such as constipation which in my opinion can be solved or prevented by use of the Breathe Light exercise. Lastly, Breathe Light exercise helps to keep carbon dioxide levels at healthy levels even when the athlete is no longer exercising. This ensures better rest, less cramps, and lower blood pressure during rest, or even after retirement.
- Can we convert an anaerobic exercise to an aerobic exercise with the Oxygen Advantage Breathe Light exercise?
In theory, yes we can. The mechanism of the Breathe Light exercise increases carbon dioxide in the blood to healthy levels so that the blood can transport oxygen more efficiently. This in turn, makes the body work in an aerobic environment. One look at the physiology of the Breathe Light exercise, and we can see that most of the benefits of aerobic exercise can be achieved by practicing this exercise. So by combining the Breathe Light exercise with non-aerobic exercises, we may be able to get the benefits of aerobic exercises even with a non-aerobic exercise.
Notes regarding weight lifting:
Weight lifting is regarded as an anaerobic exercise. Many athletes I have handled in weight lifting believe that the deep breathing they do during weight lifting contributes to muscle development. I am not sure about the physiology of this belief and I am unable to confirm or debunk it. I have, however, encountered weight lifters who suffered from hyperventilation when they weren’t in the gym. Again, I think this is because they bring their deep breathing patterns out of the gym with them.
Charles Edward G Florendo, MD
Dr Charles Edward Florendo received his Bachelor of Science degree in Medical Technology from the University of Santo Tomas in 2000. He then attained his Doctorate in Medicine, also from the University of Santo Tomas, in 2005. Shortly after graduating he became a missionary physician, serving as head of the Outpatient Department at the Mary Health of Africa Hospital, a primary AIDS referral centre in the forests of Cameroon, Africa. He was originally trained in the Buteyko Method by senior Buteyko practitioner Jac Vidgen. He then received additional training and was certified as a Buteyko practitioner by the Asthmahilfe Foundation in Austria, the Buteyko Breathing Association in England, and by the Buteyko Clinic International. While in Africa, Dr Florendo organised the training of African health workers in the use of the Buteyko Method. He also co-founded the Controlled Breathing Association, which oversees and promotes the use of the method in Cameroon. Dr Florendo has taught the Buteyko Method to patients and health workers in Africa, the United States, and the Philippines.
Contact Charles at: DrFlorendo@gmail.com