Again, I wish to start with the disclaimer that I am not a doctor. I am simply sharing my personal experience in dealing with my own hypertension without the need for prescription drugs. If you have a problem with your blood pressure, your first step to deal with it is to see your doctor.
In my previous article, I discussed how I took my first step toward dealing with my hypertension. Specifically, making changes to my breakfast. While I am going to return to the subject of diet, I am also going to cover some lifestyle changes you should consider making as well. I thought I might list some things that those of us with hypertension need to eliminate and/or avoid. I will leave food items out of this list.
If Overweight: Lose Weight and Watch Your Waistline – Check your BMI and see if you are overweight. Even though my blood pressure is in check, I am considered overweight. The Mayo Clinic Web Site notes that extra weight near the waist is particularly bad for those with hypertension. The handout my doctor gave me states that as little as 10 pounds can lower blood pressure. If you find you are overweight, seek advice from your doctor regarding an appropriate diet. However, do not delay in beginning immediately with your diet journal. (You may wish to read my previous article on my breakfast to see just how detailed you should to be.)
Get Physical – I lift weights 3 days a week and I do a gazelle exercise machine 40 min/day, 6 days a week. I also walk for most of my shopping. This might be a reason for me being able to get my BP under control in a short period of time. Regardless of your current fitness level, increasing physical activity should help you deal with your blood pressure.
You should consult your doctor before you start an exercise program. If you are considered healthy enough to exercise, try and reach a level of moderate aerobic activity for 20 – 40 minutes per day, at least three days per week. If you are still able to talk, but not able to sing, you are at a moderate level of physical activity.
Even when not exercising, try and maintain a higher level of physical activity. Consider doing things such as a standing work station, walking or bicycling to and from work and/or the store.
Remind yourself that it is going to take some time. Exercise will not impact your blood pressure immediately. You need to stick with staying active and have some patience. It can take from 1-3 months for you to see a drop in your blood pressure.
Meditation and Breathing Exercises – There are breathing exercises and Meditation that can help one reduce how high they push the mercury. I will have information on this topic in a future article. For now, I will simply state that slow, deep breathing exercises have been shown to reduce blood pressure.
Quit Smoking – Cigarettes (and other tobacco) are the only drugs that will kill you if you use them as intended. If you have hypertension, you have no business smoking. (To be honest, if you care about your health period, you shouldn’t be smoking.)
Limit Alcohol Consumption – Alcohol is just as bad, if not worse, than smoking. High alcohol consumption is associated with high blood pressure. According to info at The Mayo Clinic Web Site, women and men over 65 should limit alcohol to one “drink” per day and men under 65 to two. A “drink” is defined as one shot or one glass of wine or beer. The site also states that bing drinking and heavy drinking can cause hypertension. They also warn that, if you are a heavy drinker, suddenly quitting can also increase your blood pressure and recommend you discuss your alcohol consumption with your doctor.
Eliminate Stress in Your Life – Stress is known to increase the likeliness of hypertension. If you are aware of sources of stress in your life, take a proactive role in eliminating them. Partake in stress-relieving activities. Personally, I find great relief by taking long walks with my camera and tending to my garden. If you constantly feel stressed out, you need to remove or deal with whatever it is that is keeping you in that hypertensive inducing state.
Thank you for reading and feel free to comment. Also be sure and follow me if these articles are helpful to you. In future articles I shall cover each of the above in more detail and I shall also write more about dietary solutions for hypertension.
Photo Credit: Mediasave.co.uk