May is National Blood Pressure Month. About 1 in 3 adults in the U.S suffer from high blood pressure, that is about 67 million people. When you have high blood pressure you are putting extra work on your heart, putting you at risk for a heart attack or stroke.
What can you do to lower your blood pressure and maintain a healthy level? We have put together a list of tips that you can incorporate into your life to keep your heart from working to hard.
1. Lose the Extra Pounds.
Blood pressure often increases when our weight increases. Being overweight also can cause disrupted breathing while you sleep (sleep apnea), which increases your blood pressure.
Besides taking off extra pounds, you should keep an eye on where your extra weight is. Carrying too much weight around your waist can put you at greater risk of high blood pressure.
- Men are at risk if their waist measurement is greater than 40 inches.
- Women are at risk if their waist is greater than 35 inches.
2. Exercise Regularly
Regular physical activity at least 30 minutes 3 times a week can help lower your blood pressure. It is important to stay consistent, if you stop exercising your blood pressure can rise again.
If you have slightly high blood pressure (prehypertension), exercise can help you avoid developing full-blown hypertension. If you already have hypertension, regular physical activity can bring your blood pressure down to safer levels.
The best type of exercise for lowering blood pressure include:
3. Eat a Healthy Diet
Eat a diet that is rich in fruits, vegetable, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products. Changing your eating habits isn’t easy. Read our blog post on how to adopt a healthy diet.
4. Limit the Amount of Alcohol You Drink
Alcohol can be both good and bad for your health. In small amounts, it can potentially lower your blood pressure. But that protective effect is lost if you drink too much.
- If you are a woman or a man over 65+ no more than 1 drink a day
- If you are a man under 65 no more than 2 drinks a day
Drinking more than a moderate amount of alcohol can raise your blood pressure by several points. It can also reduce the effectiveness of blood pressure medications.
5. Quit Smoking
Each cigarette you smoke increases your blood pressure for several minutes after you finish. Quitting smoking helps your blood pressure to return to normal levels. People who quit smoking, regardless of age, have increased life expectancy.
6. Reduce Your Stress
Stress, especially chronic stress, is an important contributor to high blood pressure. Occasional stress can contribute as well if you react to stress by eating unhealthy foods, drinking alcohol, or smoking.
If you have high stress levels, take some time to think about what causes you stress such as work, family, finances, or illness. Once you know what is causing your stress, consider how you can eliminate or reduce it.
Lowering your blood pressure is a good way to live a healthy and happy lifestyle. For more posts on tips on maintaining a healthy life subscribe to our blog below and check out our Facebook page.