Lifestyle and blood pressure are fundamental sides of heart health. In most cases, hypertension comes from poor lifestyle choices. That’s why work can affect your blood pressure. Naturally, it’s also why exercise is an effective treatment.
Sure, medication can still be effective. But, we should see it as a last measure. Workouts, diets, and other behavior changes can be enough. But, why does that happen? And, how can you use that to your advantage?
That’s what I’ll teach you in today’s article.
Lifestyle and blood pressure are the first consideration
According to NHS, the majority of hypertension treatments focus on lifestyle changes. Thus, medication is mostly an afterthought. It’s typically reserved for cases where the lifestyle approach doesn’t work.
As such, it’s more common to see doctors recommending simple changes at first. Eating less salt, healthier diets, and physical activity are examples. Some smaller changes include cutting down on caffeine and alcohol. Losing weight and quitting smoking are more radical approaches.
Medication only comes into the picture when those changes don’t work.
Lifestyle changes that help your blood pressure
Now, lifestyle and blood pressure are the first areas to consider. But, what does that mean in practice? We can summarize this approach into three main areas.
The first step is understanding blood pressure. That means working with your doctor to learn as much as you can. From there, you can start developing a plan with the necessary changes.
Finally, the goal is to escalate those strategies into an overall healthier lifestyle.
Learning and teaming up
Heart.org points out the importance of knowledge. Hypertension is a symptomless condition—until it’s too late. So, you need constant monitoring to know when things go south. Anything over 130/80 mmHg should raise concern.
Moreover, managing hypertension is a lifelong task. You need to keep in touch with your doctor and listen to his advice. Your goal is to work together, making you self-sufficient when not with them. So, make a goal out of learning how to monitor your blood pressure.
Healthier lifestyle and blood pressure habits
The next step is to make relatively small changes to your lifestyle. This approach makes the commitment more manageable. That’s why WebMD recommends simple changes for beginners.
Your first goal should be to cut down on caffeine and alcohol. Find alternative ways to cope with stress as well. Patients should also increase physical activity: walks, jogs, and cycling. Just make sure it’s easy to manage. You don’t want to get tired in the beginning.
Speaking of being tired, work on your sleep schedule. Sleep quality can be a vital ally against hypertension.
Embrace the fitness lifestyle
With time, the first changes will become second nature. That means it’s time to take things to the next level. So, let’s move on to Mayo Clinic’s tips.
The first step is to lose extra pounds and maintain a healthy weight. That goes hand-in-hand with regular exercise. Most benefits come from aerobic workouts. But, strength training also yields results.
Likewise, you should focus harder on your diet. Keep sodium at a minimum by reading food labels and skipping salt. Additionally, add whole grains, vegetables and fruits, and low-fat dairy to your meals.
Of course, I can’t avoid the toughest challenge: quitting smoking. Smoking directly increases blood pressure and damages your blood vessels. Thus, it’s an additional heart disease risk.
The best diet when it comes to lifestyle and blood pressure
So, what’s the ideal diet? Well, according to this study, the DASH diet is your best bet. The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension focuses on the following:
- Fruits and vegetables.
- Whole grains.
- Fish and poultry.
- Low-fat dairy.
The diet also avoids saturated fats, red meat, sugar, and refined carbs.
The diet has shown promising results in lowering weight and heart rate. It can also lower your risk of type 2 diabetes and heart problems. In trials, the diet showed a 14.2/7.4 mmHg reduction in patients. Hypertension prevalence also fell from 38% to 12% in six months.
For a more popular approach, we have the Mediterranean diet. It’s almost the same as the DASH diet. But, it reduces sodium while adding garlic and omega-3-rich fish.
The holistic takeaway
Lifestyle and blood pressure share a close relationship we can’t ignore. That’s why most treatments focus on lifestyle changes. For most patients, medication isn’t a priority. So, learning what you should and shouldn’t do is vital.
That’s why I always recommend The Blood Pressure Program. This simple guide teaches you three optimal exercises to lower blood pressure. And, it complements it with a bunch of extra tips. Plus, all its advice is 100% natural.
To learn what you get, check out my review!