Four Simple Ways to Reduce Blood Pressure
In November 2017, the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American College of Cardiology released new guidelines for high blood pressure. As a result, millions of Americans will now meet the requirements needed for a high blood pressure diagnosis. It's common knowledge that high blood pressure is bad for your health. But have you ever wondered why?
When you have high blood pressure, your heart has to work overtime to pump blood throughout your body. This is due to narrow artery walls and large amounts of blood your heart is trying to pump. High blood pressure can often appear symptom-free, although damage is still happening below the surface.
Due to the damage it does to your arteries, high blood pressure can cause heart attacks, heart failure and strokes. Additionally, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. and high blood pressure is often a factor.
However, if you have high blood pressure, there are simple things you can do to take your heart health back into you own hands.
Exercise physiologist and BowFlex Fitness Advisor Tom Holland offers some suggestions, "After consulting with your doctor, start by making small yet meaningful changes in both your diet and exercise habits. The combination will go a long way to improving your blood pressure and overall health."
Looking for ways to lower your blood pressure? Holland recommends these four tips to live a healthier life:
- Reduce the amount of sodium you're consuming.
People with high blood pressure are particularly sensitive to sodium or salt. By reducing the amount of salt you eat, you can slowly lower your blood pressure. According to the Mayo Clinic, people with high blood pressure should limit their sodium intake to 1,500 milligrams a day – almost half the recommended amount for a healthy adult. When cooking, ignore the salt shaker and turn to herbs and sodium-free seasonings instead.
- Incorporate exercise into your regular routine.
Exercising on a regular basis strengthens your heart, meaning it can pump blood easier. The more easily it can pump blood, the lower your blood pressure will be. In order to lower your blood pressure, the AHA recommends around 40 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic activity three or four times a week. The most important thing is consistency. If you are regularly active, your blood pressure is more likely to stay lowered.
- Quit smoking.
Everyone knows smoking is harmful for your lungs and countless other parts of the body, but did you know that it also raises blood pressure? Do yourself a favor and kick this nasty habit. As soon as you stop smoking, your blood pressure will lower and your body will start to repair itself.
- Find ways to relieve stress.
Stress is a common factor of high blood pressure. Next time you're feeling stressed, take a few minutes to relax and focus on your breathing. Exercise has also been proven to relieve stress – especially yoga. Check out three different types of yoga you can try now.
If you're concerned about your blood pressure, consult with your doctor to establish an action plan to keep it in a healthy range. With the help of these tips and your doctor, you can lower your blood pressure and begin your journey to living a healthier life.