If you have high blood pressure, there are lifestyle changes you can make to reduce your numbers.
Lifestyle routine plays a critical role in high blood pressure control. If you’re able to manage your blood pressure with a healthy lifestyle, it’d help reduce or even avoid the need for high BP medications.
The following 10 lifestyle changes can help you lower your blood pressure.
1. Lose Weight and Control Your Waistline
Blood pressure increases with weight. Excess weight can cause breathing disruption when sleeping (sleep apnea), which can increase blood pressure.
Losing weight is one of the most notable lifestyle changes you can make to control your blood pressure. In fact, shedding off the smallest pound can prove a significant effect on blood pressure control. As a rule of thumb, every 1-millimeter mercury reduction in blood pressure can significantly help you shed off about 2.2 pounds.
Apart from losing weight, carefully monitor the weight of your waistline. Excess weight around your waistline can trigger the risk of high blood pressure.
As a general (researched based) rule of thumb:
Men who measure over 40 inches have a higher risk
Women who measure over 35 inches have a higher risk
Keep in mind – the number varies and might differ depending on specific factors like ethnic group.
2. Exercise regularly
Regular exercise, around 150 minutes weekly, or 30 minutes daily (every day), can lower blood pressure up to 8mmHG in people with high blood pressure. However, you need to maintain consistency with your exercise as your blood pressure can go up again if you stop.
Exercise can prevent hypertension if you have elevated blood pressure. But if you’re already hypertensive, exercise can lower your blood pressure to a considerably safer level.
Walking, swimming, joggling, dancing, or cycling are a few recommended aerobic exercises that can help reduce blood pressure. Strength training also lowers blood pressure. You can schedule strength training exercises for at least two days every week. Work with your healthcare professional to choose a favorable exercise program.
3. Eat healthily
Consume diets rich in fruits, whole grains, veggies, and low-fat dairy. Ditch diet containing cholesterol and saturated fat. You could be lowering your numbers up to 11mm ( it is called DASH – An eating plan for people with high blood pressure).
It’s not easy to switch to a new eating habit. However, the following tips should help:
Create a meal diary
Making a list of the foods you eat for a week can help reveal your eating habits. Keep track of your diet, how much you eat, when you eat and why you eat.
Consider potassium boost
Potassium counters sodium’s effect on blood pressure. You can get potassium from food sources like fruits and vegetables. We don’t usually recommend supplements, excepts for certain cases. Discuss with your healthcare professional about the right potassium level for you.
Read ingredients on labels when shopping for groceries. Do not relapse on your health plan during dinners and occasions.
4. Limit sodium intake
In fact, the smallest reduction in body sodium can improve heart health and lower blood pressure up to 6mmhg in people with high blood pressure.
Sodium effect on blood pressure differs among individuals. Try to reduce sodium to 2,300mg max. per day
Adults should strive to achieve a lower 1,500mg daily or possibly less. The following tips can help reduce sodium;
Check food labels
See if you can get a lower sodium version of your food and beverages.
5. Cut Back on Alcohol
Drinking alcohol can be healthy and unhealthy depending on your moderation level. Drinking one bottle per day for women and two bottles per day for men can potentially reduce blood pressure up to 4mm Hg.
However, that benefit is lost if you drink alcohol in excess.
Exceeding the daily recommended alcohol level can increase blood pressure and can also limit the effectiveness of BP medication.
6. Stop Smoking
Your blood pressure increases for every minute you smoke a cigarette. Quitting smoking can restore your blood pressure to its original. Stopping smoking can improve your heart health and your overall wellness. Smokers are liable not to live longer.
7. Reduce caffeine intake
There’s an ongoing debate on caffeine’s role in blood pressure. People who take caffeine occasionally can experience a raise in their blood pressure up to 10mmhg. However, coffee has no effect on the blood pressure of people who regularly drink it. While we researchers have no clear cut knowledge of caffeine’s long-term effect on blood pressure, it might possibly increase slightly.
To confirm the effect of caffeine on your blood pressure, try to check your pressure 30 minutes after taking a caffeinated drink. If you notice a 5-10 mmHg increase, you’re likely affected by the blood pressure- increase effect in caffeine. Seek your doctor’s advice about caffeine and its effect on your blood pressure.
8. Reduce stress
Stress can cause high blood pressure. There is an ongoing research on how stress can affect blood pressure. You can also experience high blood pressure if you react negatively to stressors by smoking or drinking alcohol.
Figure out what causes your stress. It could be finance, family, work, or a medical condition. Then think about how you can reduce or eliminate the stress. If you cannot eliminate your stressors, think of a healthy way to manage them.
9. Keep a Tab Of Your Blood Pressure
Monitor your blood pressure at home as it helps you know whether your lifestyle changes are working. There are different kinds of blood pressure medications available. You also need to visit your doctor regularly. Ask your doctor how often you need to visit for a blood pressure check-up.
And if you’re starting on a new treatment or a new medication, your doctor will advise that you check your blood pressure within 2 weeks after the treatment.
10. Ask for support
Family and friends can play a major role in improving your health. They may inspire you to start a workout program, drive you to your doctor’s office or encourage you to take care of your body.
However, if you’re looking for additional support, you can join a support group. Support groups can offer practical tips to manage your condition while giving you a moral and emotional boost.