How to Assess Exercising Blood Pressure

Updated: Aug 28, 2021

The purpose of measuring Exercising blood pressure and heart rate during exercise is to determine if heart rate and blood pressure are responding appropriately with increasing intensity.

Obtaining exercising blood pressure can definitely be more difficult than resting blood pressure, as far as how to set it up, and actually being able to hear the phases. It certainly takes a lot of practice to get comfortable and confident with this skill.

Blood pressure is largely a function of cardiac output and peripheral resistance. Generally, the increase in blood pressure during exercise is due to the increased cardiac output.

During aerobic exercise, systolic pressure is expected to increase linearly and diastolic pressure changes very little during progressive aerobic exercise – mainly due to a redistribution of blood flow to the capillary beds in the large exercising muscle groups (Brooks, Fahey, & Baldwin, 2005).

It is important to note that exercise testing is contraindicated (not recommended) if resting systolic blood pressure >200 mm Hg or resting diastolic pressure >115 mm Hg (American College of Sports Medicine, 2014).


Brooks, G. A., Fahey, T. D., & Baldwin, K. M. (2005). Human bioenergetics and its applications.Exercise physiology. 4th Ed. Mc Graw Hill; New York, 122-5.

Ferguson, B. (2014). ACSM’s guidelines for exercise testing and prescription 9th Ed. 2014. The Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association, 58(3), 328.


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