You may lower your blood pressure and lower your risk of heart disease by implementing these 10 lifestyle changes.
You might be concerned about taking medication to lower your blood pressure if you’ve been diagnosed with it.
Lifestyle plays an important role in treating your high blood pressure. You may be able to prevent, delay, or lessen the need for medication if you successfully regulate your blood pressure with a healthy lifestyle.
Here are ten lifestyle adjustments you may do to lower and maintain your blood pressure.
1. Lose weight and keep an eye on your waistline.
As people gain weight, their blood pressure often rises. Being overweight can also induce sleep apnea, which elevates your blood pressure even more.
One of the most beneficial lifestyle adjustments for managing blood pressure is weight loss. If you’re overweight or obese, losing even a tiny amount of weight can help lower your blood pressure. In general, each kilogram (2.2 pounds) of weight you lose lowers your blood pressure by roughly 1 millimeter of mercury (mm Hg).
Aside from losing weight, you should also keep an eye on your waistline. Carrying excess weight around your waist can increase your chances of developing high blood pressure.
- If a man’s waist circumference is larger than 40 inches, he is at risk (102 centimeters).
- If a woman’s waist circumference is larger than 35 inches, she is at risk (89 centimeters).
These figures differ per ethnic group. Consult your doctor to determine a safe waist measurement for you.
2. Exercise on a regular basis
If you have high blood pressure, regular physical exercise — such as 150 minutes per week or around 30 minutes most days of the week — can drop it by 5 to 8 mm Hg. It’s critical to maintain consistency because stopping exercise can cause your blood pressure to rise again.
Exercise can assist you avoid developing hypertension if your blood pressure is high. If you already have hypertension, regular exercise can help you lower your blood pressure to more manageable levels.
Walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, and dancing are all forms of aerobic exercise that can help you lower your blood pressure. You can also try high-intensity interval training, which is alternating brief bursts of intensive activity with lighter activity rest periods. Strength exercise can also help you lower your blood pressure. At least two days a week, including strength training workouts. Consult your doctor about starting an exercise routine.
3. Eat a healthy diet
If you have high blood pressure, eating a diet rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products while avoiding saturated fat and cholesterol can drop your blood pressure by up to 11 mm Hg. Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) is the name of this eating strategy.
It’s not easy to change your eating habits, but following these guidelines will help you accomplish so:
- Keeping a food journal is a good idea. Even if it’s only for a week, writing down everything you eat might reveal a lot about your genuine eating habits. Keep track of everything you eat, how much you consume, when you eat it, and why you eat it.
- Consider increasing your potassium intake. Potassium can help lower blood pressure by counteracting the effects of salt. Foods like fruits and vegetables, rather than supplements, are the finest sources of potassium. Consult your doctor to determine the appropriate potassium amount for you.
- Be a wise shopper when you go shopping. When you’re shopping, read the labels on the foods you buy, and stick to your healthy eating plan even when you’re eating out.
4. Eat a low-sodium diet.
If you have high blood pressure, even a minor reduction in salt in your diet can enhance your heart health and lower your blood pressure by 5 to 6 mm Hg.
The effect of sodium intake on blood pressure varies among groups of people. Limit sodium intake to no more than 2,300 milligrams (mg) per day. For most adults, however, a lower sodium consumption of 1,500 mg or less per day is preferable.
Consider the following suggestions to reduce sodium in your diet:
- Read the labels on the foods you buy. If at all possible, substitute low-sodium foods and beverages for your regular purchases.
- Reduce your intake of processed foods. Natural foods have only a little quantity of salt. The majority of sodium is added during the manufacturing process.
- Add no salt to the dish. The sodium content of a level teaspoon of salt is 2,300 mg. To add flavor to your cuisine, use herbs or spices.
- Take it slowly at first. If you don’t think you’ll be able to dramatically reduce your sodium intake overnight, reduce it gradually. Over time, your palate will adjust.
5. Keep your alcohol consumption to a minimum.
Alcohol has both positive and negative health effects. You can potentially lower your blood pressure by 4 mm Hg by drinking alcohol in moderation – one drink per day for women, two drinks per day for males. 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof liquor equals one drink.
However, if you consume too much alcohol, this protective effect is eliminated. Drinking more than modest amounts of alcohol can cause a significant increase in blood pressure. It can also make blood pressure drugs less effective.
6. Give up smoking.
For many minutes after you finish smoking a cigarette, your blood pressure rises. Smoking cessation aids in the restoration of normal blood pressure. Quitting smoking can help you live a healthier life by lowering your risk of heart disease and improving your overall health. People who give up smoking may live longer than those who do not.
7. Limit your caffeine intake.
The impact of caffeine on blood pressure is currently being disputed. Caffeine can elevate blood pressure by up to ten millimeters of mercury in persons who use it seldom. Coffee drinkers, on the other hand, may have little or no influence on their blood pressure.
Although the long-term effects of caffeine on blood pressure are unknown, blood pressure may increase modestly.
Check your blood pressure within 30 minutes of ingesting a caffeinated beverage to see if it has increased. You may be sensitive to the blood pressure-raising effects of coffee if your blood pressure rises by 5 to 10 mm Hg. Discuss the impact of coffee on your blood pressure with your doctor.
8. Reduce your stress
High blood pressure may be exacerbated by chronic stress. To determine the impact of persistent stress on blood pressure, more research is needed. If you react to stress by eating unhealthy foods, consuming alcohol, or smoking, it can contribute to high blood pressure.
Take some time to consider what makes you stressed, such as work, family, finances, or illness. Consider how you can eliminate or lessen stress once you know what’s generating it.
You can at least manage with your stressors in a healthy way if you can’t eliminate all of them. Make an effort to:
- Set new goals for yourself. Plan your day, for example, and keep your priorities in mind. Try not to take on too much and learn to say no. Recognize that some things are beyond your control, but you can influence how you react to them.
- Concentrate on the issues you have control over and develop plans to address them. If you’re having a problem at work, speak with your boss. Take measures to resolve any conflicts you may have with your children or spouse.
- Stay away from stressors. When you can, try to stay away from triggers. If rush-hour traffic on your commute to work, for example, is causing you stress, consider leaving earlier in the morning or taking public transportation. If at all possible, avoid folks who make you feel stressed.
- Make time to unwind and participate in activities that you enjoy. Spend some time each day sitting quietly and fully breathing. Make time in your schedule for fun activities or hobbies, such as going for a stroll, cooking, or volunteering.
- Gratitude should be practiced. Gratitude for others can make you feel less stressed.
9. Keep a close eye on your blood pressure at home and see your doctor on a frequent basis.
Home monitoring can assist you in keeping track of your blood pressure, ensuring that your lifestyle modifications are working, and alerting you and your doctor to potential health issues. Blood pressure monitors are commonly available and require no prescription. Before you start, talk to your doctor about home monitoring.
It’s also important to see your doctor on a regular basis if you want to keep your blood pressure under control. If your blood pressure is under control, ask your doctor how often you should have it checked. Your doctor may advise you to check it daily or less frequently. If you’re changing drugs or treatments, your doctor may advise you to check your blood pressure two weeks after making the changes and one week before your next appointment.
10. Seek assistance.
Family and friends who are supportive can help you improve your health. They may motivate you to take care of yourself, drive you to the doctor, or join you in an exercise program to help you maintain a healthy blood pressure.