We need a heart. No, we really need our hearts, so we need to treat them right. As the central organ that pumps blood around our bodies, it is paramount we look after this – and the associated arteries & vessels – to ensure a long and active life. If you have high blood pressure, you can strain your arteries, which may be ok in the short run, but it will put medium to long-term stress on your heart which could lead to chest pain, heart attacks, stroke or even death. So reducing blood pressure is an important step we all need to embrace sooner rather than later.
1. Regular Exercise
We all know it, but how many do it. Regular exercise can not only reduce your waistline, but it ensures your heart can pump more blood around the body with less effort. Remember, just because you hit the treadmill last week, you can’t expect instant results, it takes 1-2 months for the effects to start to kick in, so be patient and consistent, or you will end up the wrong kind of patient in the hospital.
2. Eat Healthily
You are what you eat, so if you are burger, fries and a coke, what do you think your insides are going to look like. The linkage between food and blood pressure is massive. The Dietary Approaches to stop hypertension is a diet that encourages more vegetables, fruit and low-fat dairy foods and moderate amounts of whole grains, fish, poultry, and nuts. This is the start of a happier, healthier heart.
3. Decrease Sodium Intake
Salt is something that puts extreme pressure on your heart. Sure, it may taste good, but you should be trying to cut it out of your diet as much as humanly possible. Having too much sodium in your diet forces your body to hold more water, which in turn puts more pressure on the arteries. With your arteries getting tougher and thicker, your blood flow is restricted, your heart has to work harder and this could lead to blockages that cause heart attacks!
4. Try TM
Transcendental Meditation (TM) has shown to be an effective meditation technique that has several health benefits, including lowering blood pressure. The National Institute of Health invested over $20 million to study the effects of TM. Research shows this twenty minutes twice-a-day technique can reduce high blood pressure. Perfect to practice on the way to work if you ride the train or the bus. (But not if you drive!) We are not talking about putting on a pair of ‘Thai Fisherman pants’ and chanting, Transcendental Meditation (TM) for just 20 minutes per day has a range of fantastic benefits, simply by breathing. You can literally do it anywhere, 20 minutes, breath and be in your space. If Bobby Axelrod from Billions can do it, so can you.
5. Soak Up The Sun
Catching rays, soaking the sun, getting a little vitamin D, all can help lower your blood pressure. It also allows you to chill out, take some time and relax. Scientifically speaking when the nitric oxide in our skin reacts with the sunlight, our blood vessels widen as the oxygen moves up the bloodstream, lowering the pressure. So next time you get the chance, put the sunscreen on and go enjoy some sun – but not too long.
6. Listen To Music
We all have ‘our song’, the song that takes us back, relaxes us, or simply gets us in the zone – relaxing isn’t it? It has been proven that slow, relaxing music will lower blood pressure, while fast, busy music does the opposite. So next time you can, slip on your headphones at work, put some chilled tunes and relax.
7. Monitor Your Blood Pressure
Keeping tabs on it is the first step. Take a ‘snapshot’ of where you are, set realistic goals of where you want to be, then work with your medical professionals to get there. By getting regular checkups, just as you do with your car, you can look under the hood, make sure everything is running as it should and any issues will get picked up.