One of the biggest frustrations in life is when you work hard at something, believe youâre doing it right, and then you donât get the results youâre looking for. And if youâre physically active and canât get your blood pressure any lower, you know exactly what Iâm talking about.
Managing your blood pressure can feel like a full-time job, and really, it is. The decisions you make every day can keep your blood pressure the same, bring it up, or knock it down.
How Are You Getting Your Physical Activity?
If youâre already active, the first thing Iâd urge you to do is look at how youâre getting that activity. If you spend an hour a day in the garden or going for a walk, thatâs terrificâkeep doing it, youâre going to benefit. But to increase the positive effects, youâll want to intersperse some more activity during your day.
Getting up once per hour for at least five minutes can make a difference, and so can including more low-level activities. Things like walking to the store or to friendsâ houses, or getting out for some extra walks throughout the day, even if only for a few minutes, can further improve the efficiency of your circulation. The more time you spend sedentary, the less reason your heart has to pump blood efficiently.
There are also some dietary factors that could be holding back the benefits of exercise. Thereâs no question that activity is great for your heart regardless of what youâre eating, but sticking to certain items can make it even better. Maintaining a healthy weight is important for lowering blood pressure, and even losing as little as five pounds can have remarkable results. Maintaining caloric intake or introducing a caloric deficit can help lower blood pressure.
Paying attention to what you eat also compliments efforts to lower blood pressure. Avoiding processed foods that are packed with sodium is essential, and so is making healthy choices when it comes to getting more vegetables, fruit, and fiber. Items such as fish, legumes, and whole grains can boost HDL cholesterol, which can lead to lower blood pressure.
One more thing to support your efforts above and beyond activity is sleep. Getting a good nightâs sleep can play a key role in blood pressure, and it can play an even bigger role if you suffer from sleep apnea.
Activity is probably the most influential component to a healthy heart, but if youâre trying to get your blood pressure even lower, itâs essential to take other factors into consideration. Try these ideas to help you get over the hump!