Many people will start taking blood pressure tablets to help reduce their blood pressure from middle age to later life. High blood pressure is a very common condition and while your doctor can help you with some pills, there are also a few things you can do to help yourself as well.
All of these things can be done safely and healthy while you are taking your tablets and will help to improve your condition much faster. While you can’t guarantee that you will be able to come off your blood pressure tablets (you can inherit high blood pressure) you will certainly feel the benefit of a much healthier lifestyle.
Lose Some Weight
One of the most popular ways to work out whether you are the right weight, overweight or obese is to calculate your BMI. This method is by no means foolproof since a muscular athlete is likely to come out as obese, but it will give you an idea of where you should stand. If you have a large belly or other bits that wobble, your BMI will likely indicate how much weight, or fat, you should lose to reach a normal weight.
Gradually, losing weight is good for your blood pressure because it means that your heart won’t have to work as hard to ensure that your whole body gets the oxygen you need. The more weight you are carrying around, the harder your body has to work to allow you to move. Think of it this way: if you are a stone overweight, it is the equivalent of a person of normal weight carrying a stone around in a rucksack. Now, how much do you want to put that rucksack down?!
There are all kinds of methods for losing weight, but the main thing that you remember is that you need to keep the weight off as well. Essentially, this means that you need to get into good habits, eating healthily and exercising regularly to keep the weight off once it is gone. So, when you lose weight, your lifestyle will also have to change too.
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Exercise is an excellent way to lower your blood pressure and at least 30 minutes a week of exercise should be fairly easy for most people to fit in. Aerobic exercise is a good way to strengthen your heart and improve your stamina. Activities like walking, jogging, swimming, and cycling are all aerobic activities that are easy to do each week.
If you struggle to motivate yourself to exercise, then a class or group will probably benefit you greatly. There is nothing like the pressure of letting other people down for ensuring that you get your exercise done! Spinning classes, dance classes and anything else you can find to get you moving is all ideal for increasing the amount of aerobic exercise you get.
You might also wish to incorporate other types of exercise to your weeks such as pilates or yoga to help stretch out your muscles and improve your flexibility or weight training too gradually build up your muscles and increase your strength. The more different types of exercise you can get into your week, the better you will feel. As ever, variety is the spice of life.
For many people who are sedentary for most of the day, wearing some compression socks will also help to keep your blood moving while you are sitting down. You can get a variety of styles and there are even compression socks that are perfect for sport have a look at more online at Sockwell Socks to see whether you could benefit too.
Sort Your Diet Out and Reduce Your Salt
Your diet is one of the most important ways that you can control your health and improve your blood pressure. In particular, salt is known to cause high blood pressure and given the amount of processed foods we all tend to eat, it can be quite difficult to avoid. The best thing you can do, then, is to make more of your own meals from scratch and only eat salty processed food as a rare treat.
The first thing you should consider doing is keeping a food diary. This is a good way to be realistic about what you are eating and see where your bad habits really lie. It is very easy to believe that we all eat enough fruit and veg and don’t binge on the bad stuff, but an honest food diary will likely be a bit of a shock to the system. With your food diary, you can also start to plan your meals ahead so that you know exactly how you are improving your diet. Over a few weeks, you will see an enormous difference in yourself and your blood pressure!
If you are trying to eat more healthily, then it is worth knowing what you should be eating and how to balance your plate to get everything you need. While we tend to focus on carbs like bread, pasta and potatoes, if you want to feel full then the first thing you should do is increase the lean proteins you eat such as chicken, turkey, tofu and eggs.
Naturally, the more vegetables you can pile onto your plate the better. If you fill up on veggies and incorporate as many different colors as possible, this is a good way to ensure that you get a good range of vitamins and minerals. Similarly, fruits will give you plenty of vitamins too, though do be careful not to eat too many high-sugar fruits.
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Think About Your Drinking
The healthy diet is not just about food though. Drinking alcohol and caffeine can also have a negative effect on your blood pressure. While you don’t necessarily have to stop completely, reducing the amount of alcohol you drink each week and the caffeine you consume will certainly help you to feel much better. There are now lots of non-alcoholic drinks available that you could substitute in on a night out including beers and wines as well as mock-tails for something a bit more fun!
Increasing your water consumption will also help you to achieve a better lifestyle. Water is ideal for rehydrating you and drinking a glass before a meal will prevent you from overeating as it will sit in your stomach and make you feel fuller. There are lots of ways to trick yourself into consuming more water and the more you do, the better life will be!
Though there isn’t much scientific research in to explain why this is, stress does seem to be correlated with high blood pressure and destressing often helps. Indeed, there is quite a lot of anecdotal evidence to say that relaxation is the best way to improve your blood pressure. So, if you are feeling particularly stressed, finding ways to relax (without eating your body weight in fatty, sugary foods or reaching for the bottle) then you are likely to find that you feel a lot better. And, to be honest, even if this doesn’t work for your blood pressure, it will certainly help your mental health.
Stress has been labeled the health epidemic in the 21st century and doctors are increasingly treating patients suffering from stress-related illnesses. This means that there is now significantly more support available for people suffering from stress as well as many methods for dealing with it. The first thing you should know is that every method works slightly differently and if one thing doesn’t work for you, you can just try something different. Destressing is as much about experimenting as anything else.
One of the main ways that people destress now is through mindfulness techniques and meditation. This works by allowing you to clear your mind and simply be for a few minutes. The effect is that you are allowed to stop thinking about what you need to do next or worrying about your anxieties, just sit and be in your body and relax. Mindfulness doesn’t work for everyone (and for some people it can be quite stressful in itself) but daydreaming might work if that is the case: instead of clearing your mind, allow your mind to wander freely without trying to direct your thoughts.
As you get fitter and healthier, get your bad habits under control and understand your body better as a consequence, your blood pressure should start to gradually come down. While you may have to continue taking your pills, even on this better lifestyle, it is likely that your dosage will be reduced and you will feel much better about yourself too.
Having a healthy lifestyle has lots of bonuses as well as normal blood pressure: you will feel lighter, more energetic, be happier and more positive. This is really what you should be aiming for and not just because of your blood pressure, but because you deserve to have a life that you can live long and well. The best way to give yourself the maximum amount of time to achieve your ambitions is to give your body everything it needs to be strong. And that’s all a healthy lifestyle is about.
Wife, mother, grandma, blogger, all wrapped into one person, although it does not define her these are roles that are important to her. From empty nesters to living with our oldest and 2 grandchildren while our house is rebuilt after a house fire in 10/2018 my life is something new each day.