Managing Your Blood Pressure With Exercise And Diet
If you have high blood pressure, you may be wondering what you can do to manage it. While medication can be an important part of treatment, there are arguably some lifestyle changes that can make a big difference.
As many as 1 in 3 adults have hypertension, both diagnosed and undiagnosed. Of course, this can pose a major problem. especially since many diagnosed maintain the status quo by refusing to make positive changes.
Then, on the other hand, there are people that don't know they have high blood pressure, and are in effect a ticking timebomb, waiting to be set upon by the silent killer.
So what can you do to manage your blood pressure, and keep it in a healthy range?
In this blog post, we'll take a look at some things you can do to manage your blood pressure through diet and exercise.
What Is Blood Pressure Anyway?
Blood pressure is the force of your blood pushing against the walls of your arteries. Each time your heart beats, it pumps out blood into the arteries. Your blood pressure is highest when your heart beats, pumping the blood. This is called systolic pressure.
When your heart rests between beats and fills with blood, your blood pressure falls. This is called diastolic pressure. Your blood pressure reading uses these two numbers. Usually, the systolic number is written above or before the diastolic number, such as 120/80 mm Hg.
A normal blood pressure reading is less than 120 systolic and 80 diastolic. If either one of these numbers is too high, you are usually diagnosed as having high blood pressure.
You can have high systolic blood pressure with a normal diastolic blood pressure reading. This is called isolated systolic hypertension, which is more common in older adults. With isolated systolic hypertension, sometimes it's enough to treat just the systolic number with lifestyle interventions, even if the diastolic number remains high.
Complications Of High Blood Pressure
Increased Risk Of Heart Attack And Stroke
It is well known that high blood pressure is a major contributing risk factor for heart disease and stroke.
When your blood pressure is too high, it puts extra strain on your heart and arteries. This can damage the lining of your arteries, making them more likely to harden and narrow from inflammatory processes.
Over time, this vessel inflammation can lead to scarring that makes the blood vessel less likely to expand in response to situations that may transiently raise blood pressure.
This vessel inflexibility can lead to an increased risk of heart attack and stroke in the long run.
High blood pressure can damage your kidneys and lead to kidney disease. Kidney disease can cause fluid and electrolyte disturbances, cause you to urinate more often, have trouble urinating, or experience changes in the amount of urine you produce. You may also have fatigue, swelling in your ankles or feet, and problems concentrating.
High blood pressure can damage the small blood vessels in your eyes and lead to vision problems such as difficulty seeing at night or diminished peripheral vision.
Exercise To Manage Blood Pressure
There are many different exercises that can be utilized to help control blood pressure levels, but the one commonality shared between them is the fact that they all serve to improve the health of your heart and vascular system.
Here are a few great types to start making use of today.
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), aerobic exercise is any type of physical activity that gets your heart pumping and makes you breathe harder. Regular aerobic exercise strengthens your heart and increases your endurance.
As a result, your heart doesn’t have to work as hard to pump blood, which lowers your blood pressure. The AHA recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week, or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity—such as jogging—per week. If you’re just starting out, the AHA recommends starting with 10 minutes of aerobic activity per day and gradually increasing your time until you reach the recommended 150 minutes per week.
1. Walking. Walking is a great exercise for managing blood pressure. Not only does it improve your cardiovascular health, but it also helps to lower your blood pressure. Aim for 30 minutes of walking per day, and you’ll start to see results in no time.
2. Swimming. Another great option for exercise is swimming. This low-impact activity is easy on your joints and helps to reduce stress, both of which can contribute to high blood pressure. Spend 30 minutes swimming a few times per week, and you’ll start to see a difference in your blood pressure levels.
3. Cycling. Cycling is another low-impact activity that’s easy on your joints and good for your heart. Cycling for just 30 minutes a day is associated with having lower blood pressure levels than people who don't cycle at all.
Start by cycling for 10 minutes a day and gradually increase your time until you reach 30 minutes or longer.
In addition to aerobic exercise, resistance training is also important for managing blood pressure. Resistance training—also known as strength training or weightlifting—helps build muscle mass and reduces body fat.
It also helps increase insulin sensitivity, which can improve how glucose is used.
Plus, one of the major sells of resistance training relates to its ability to help maintain blood vessel flexibility.
The physiological changes that resistance training brings about include vascular remodeling, in addition to the strengthening of the heart and muscles themselves.
Yoga is a type of mind-body exercise that combines breathing exercises, physical poses, and meditation. Yoga has been shown to decrease stress hormones—such as cortisol—in the body, which can help lower blood pressure.
You don't necessarily require any technical skills or knowledge to get started with yoga. All you need is a comfortable place to practice and some basic instructions.
There are many different types of yoga, so it’s important to find a variety that is suitable and caters to your current level.
You've probably heard the drill before- just watch your salt intake and you'll be fine. However, it doesn't easily pan out like this. Sometimes, it takes much more effort than mere salt restriction.
But the good news is that it isn't too difficult to accomplish this.
Try these excellent dietary interventions:
Consume More Potassium Rich Foods
Potassium and sodium share a love-hate relationship regarding blood pressure and fluid balance. Potassium is an essential mineral that helps to regulate blood pressure.
When potassium levels are too low, blood vessels constrict, which raises blood pressure. In contrast, high potassium levels help to relax blood vessels and lower blood pressure. That's why it's important to include foods rich in potassium in your diet, such as bananas, sweet potatoes, and avocados.
Taking a supplement that includes potassium, such as Fortify, can help to lower blood pressure in people with hypertension. Potassium works by balancing out the effects of sodium in the body, so it's important to limit sodium intake as well. By keeping your potassium and sodium levels in check, you can help to keep your blood pressure under control.
More people recognize collagen for its benefits on skin and joints, but less is known about its role on other tissue types.
This essential nutrient is found in the connective tissues of the body, including the skin, tendons, and ligaments. It is also a major component of blood vessels. Collagen has many benefits for the body, including helping to control blood pressure.
One way collagen helps to control blood pressure is by keeping blood vessels elastic. This means that they can stretch and contract as needed, which helps to prevent high blood pressure. In addition, collagen helps to keep blood vessels smooth and free of plaque buildup. Plaque can narrow arteries and raise blood pressure, but collagen helps to keep arteries clear. Finally, collagen helps to regulate the body’s production of angiotensin II, a hormone that raises blood pressure. By keeping angiotensin II levels in check, collagen helps to maintain healthy blood pressure levels.
To get the most out of this benefit, be sure to consume more collagen-rich foods, or if you find this impractical, supplement with a high-quality collagen peptide powder, such as Radiance.
Did you know that fiber is basically an essential nutrient as well? However, the number of us that get enough on a daily basis is another story completely.
As well as being beneficial for digestive health, fiber can also help to control your blood pressure. This is because fiber helps to reduce the amount of LDL cholesterol in the blood, effectively acting as a sort of "mop".
LDL cholesterol is a type of fat that can be oxidized and easily build up on the walls of blood vessels, causing them to narrow and restricting the flow of blood. This increases blood pressure and puts strain on the heart. Fiber works by binding to LDL cholesterol and removing it from the body before it has a chance to enter the bloodstream. As a result, getting enough fiber can help to keep blood pressure at a healthy level.
Don't like veggies and fruits? We know this is an issue for some people. And this is the exact reason we developed Field of Greens; a delicious superfood blend that is chock full of health-boosting nutrients and fiber.
Did you know that probiotics may help to control blood pressure too? It's almost like their list of potential benefits keeps growing and growing.
Probiotics are live microorganisms that are found in yogurt and other fermented foods. These microorganisms can have a positive impact on gut health, but they may also help to lower blood pressure.
The exact mechanism by which probiotics impact blood pressure is not yet fully understood, but it is thought that the microorganisms may help to reduce inflammation in the lining of the arteries.
In addition, probiotics may help to increase levels of nitric oxide, a molecule that helps to relax blood vessels via vasodilation. As a result, regular consumption of probiotics can help to reduce blood pressure and improve cardiovascular health.
Omega-3 Fish Oil
While there are many different factors that can contribute to high blood pressure, one common culprit is inflammation. Inflammation occurs when the body's immune system is activated in response to an infection or injury. This triggers a release of chemicals that can narrow blood vessels and increase blood pressure.
Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of anti-inflammatory agent that can help to control blood pressure. These nutrients are found in oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines. They can also be found in fish oil supplements.
Omega-3 fatty acids work by inhibiting the production of inflammatory chemicals and mediators. In addition, they help to reduce the risk of blood clots and plaque buildup in the arteries. As a result, omega-3 fish oil can be an effective way to help control blood pressure.
Even though high blood pressure remains a massive public health concern, the fact is that you can mitigate your risk with some fairly simple lifestyle changes.
Exercise, a healthy diet, and supplements like collagen, fiber, probiotics, and omega-3 fish oil can all help to keep blood pressure at a healthy level. So, if you're looking to lower your risk of hypertension, be sure to incorporate these nutrients into your diet.