Managing High Blood Pressure with exercise (and diet)
High blood pressure (or hypertension) is a common problem. With so many of us leading busy and stressful lives, it’s easy for your blood pressure to creep up without realising – but there are 2 important lifestyle changes that you can make to keep it in check:
1. Diet and nutrition
Yeap, there are those words again. Your diet and nutrition really do play a vital part towards having a happy and healthy body. Cutting down on your intake of saturated fat and alcohol can help towards lowering cholesterol levels (LDL’s) and allowing your blood a clear passage through your arteries, meaning that there is less pressure on the artery wall. Reducing the amount of salt in your diet can also cause you to see a rapid improvement; salt causes the body retain water, and subsequently, raises your blood pressure levels. Too much salt can also reduce the effectiveness of blood pressure medications such as diuretics.
2. Physical activity
Whilst it’s true that exercise can raise your blood pressure in the short term (whilst you are doing it), regular physical activity can actually help you to lower your blood pressure in the long term, as well as having additional benefits such as stress relief and helping to maintain a healthy weight – two more important factors when it comes to blood pressure control. Regularly exercising and raising your heart rate makes your heart more efficient, meaning that it doesn’t have to work as hard to transport blood around your body. Exercise also improves your lung function, which means you can work harder for longer without getting out of breath, making everything in your everyday life less of a struggle too – it’s a win win!
So where do you start?
If you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, check with your doctor that you are safe to exercise before starting any new routines – they may prescribe a medication to bring your BP down to a safer level before you are able to start. When you are ready to get going, start small and work your way up – going for a long walk DOES still count as exercise!
If you have any questions about your high blood pressure or what you can do to reduce it, drop me a message and I’ll be happy to have a chat!