If you happen to have high blood pressure, your lifestyle should be the first place to look for solutions. Other than medication, the best way to maintain healthy levels of blood pressure is by making lifestyle changes. Fortunately, there are a few simple alterations that can have a tremendous impact on your blood pressure and overall health.
1. Control Your Weight and Diet
What’s most important is how and where you carry your excess weight. As we, especially men, age, testosterone levels in our bodies also decline. This produces an increase in soft, fatty tissues in certain parts of the body, including the heart. So it’s no surprise that this condition and time of life is also associated with an increased risk of hypertension!
When talking about weight, diet is always an issue. The only workable, long-term approach to losing weight is a common-sense, balanced diet along with exercise. Forget the fad diets!
2. Exercise Regularly
Inactivity and excess weight usually go together hand in hand, contributing to each other. If you’re overweight there is a very good chance that you’re also physically inactive and this further increases your risk of hypertension.
Inactivity in itself can be a cause of or a contributor to high blood pressure. Over time, it’s likely to increase your weight but, even if not, inactivity slows the metabolism, alters body chemistry and weakens the heart. A weaker heart has to work harder pumping blood and thus increases blood pressure.
Conversely, exercise reverses these conditions and lowers high blood pressure. Like losing weight, increased activity and exercise can often be all it takes to cure hypertension. Just walking an hour a day can be all it takes to make the difference.
3. Reduce alcohol consumption
Excessive drinking is almost guaranteed to raise blood pressure. There’s usually a fine line between what our bodies can handle and what they can not quickly recover from, especially as we age.
If you are over your safe limit you will often feel it, if not with hangovers, then in the form of disturbed sleep, tiredness and/or nausea? and high blood pressure! The problem can be reversed by cutting your consumption back as far as needed to regain your equilibrium.
Obviously, if you are unable to reduce consumption it indicates alcoholism and you should seek help.
4. Eliminate Stress
The body recovers quickly from occasional stress, but if a high level of stress is chronic in your life it’s bound to result in hypertension. Fortunately, if your high blood pressure is stress-induced relaxation can often reverse it.
If chronic stress is a problem in your life you urgently need deep relaxation. We often think in terms of meditation or yoga. But relaxation can also mean listening to music, reading, taking part in an engrossing hobby, gardening or even doing nothing at all. The important thing is to just do it and break the cycle of stress.
5. Breathe Slow
In our stressed-out states we tend to breathe rapidly and shallowly. Tense muscles in the diaphragm constrict major blood vessels, increasing the load on our hearts and increasing blood pressure.
So it’s no surprise that a natural method called slow breathing has proved to significantly lower blood pressure. Research reveals that breathing at a slow rate and in a specific pattern for just 10 to 15 minutes a day lowers blood pressure. What?s even more surprising is that the effects are cumulative and begin to last all day after just a few weeks of slow breathing.
Just try adopting all or most of the above lifestyle changes and watch your blood pressure reading slide to normal limits.