5 Ways to Lower Blood Pressure
Shanda McNew - PRO PT
Hypertension, or high blood pressure, affects one-third of adults. When blood pressure is too high for too long, serious health problems like heart disease, stroke, and kidney damage can develop without warning. May is High Blood Pressure Education Month - watch out for blood pressures consistently over 130/80. It doesn’t take a major life overhaul to make a difference - try some of these simple changes to lower your blood pressure.
● Get Moving - Regular physical activity does a body good. Just a few minutes of exercise, walking, weightlifting, biking, dancing, or gardening can lower your blood pressure. Find something you enjoy and stick with it.
● Lose Weight - Weight loss is by far the most effective way to decrease blood pressure. A loss of just 10 pounds can have a huge impact.
● Read Labels - Sodium causes us to retain water, raising blood pressure. Potassium helps get rid of sodium and relaxes blood vessels, lowering blood pressure. Skip adding salt. Try “low sodium” options. Eat less processed foods. Eat more potassium-rich foods like fruits, dairy, leafy greens, and potatoes.
● Limit Alcohol Consumption - Drinking too much, too often, can increase blood pressure. Moderation is key. Limit alcohol consumption to two drinks a day for men and one for women.
● Reduce Stress - Stress constricts blood vessels, causing blood pressure to spike. Stress can also lead to unhealthy coping mechanisms like eating poorly, drinking too much, smoking, or sleeping too little. Avoid stressful triggers. Focus on the good. Work less. Relax more. Enjoy.
It’s important to note, your hypertension treatment may require both healthy lifestyle changes AND medications prescribed by your physician. Start by checking your blood pressure. Then take a few small steps in the right direction to get below that 130/80 range.