Managing Weight to Control High Blood Pressure

women in an exercise class

Reasons to manage your weight

  • A little weight loss can bring a lot of health gains. You might gain health benefits from losing as few as 10 pounds. Even a small weight loss can help manage or prevent high blood pressure.
  • Being overweight puts extra strain on your heart. This can increase the risk for:
    • High blood pressure
    • Damage to your blood vessels
    • Serious health threats, such as heart attack and stroke

Increase activity to lose weight

If your health care professional recommends that you lose weight, there’s a simple rule to follow – move more and eat well:

  • Gradually increase your physical activity beyond the American Heart Association’s recommendation of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week
  • Lower the number of calories you take in 
  • Eat a healthy diet

You don’t have to join a gym or buy equipment to fit in physical activity. These low- or no-cost community resources can offer access to safe places to exercise:

  • YMCA
  • Community centers or senior centers
  • Parks and recreation departments
  • Faith-based groups

Once you reach your goal weight, you can decide which dietary and fitness choices work best for maintaining your weight.

Talk to your health care professional about a healthy approach to weight loss. They can help you figure out how many calories you need to lose weight and which types of activities are best for you.

Download fact sheets on healthy weight loss (PDF) and maintaining a healthy weight (PDF) | Spanish (PDF).