How To Control Your Blood Pressure Without Medication
It's 'Know Your Numbers Week' - a campaign to raise awareness around maintaining healthy blood pressure levels. We thought we’d take this as an opportunity to provide information and tips on how to control and reduce your blood pressure, without medication.
Did you know that exercise can play a pivotal role in lowering your blood pressure? According to the NHS, around 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week is recommended.
Here are the five best exercises to control high blood pressure:
1) Regular Brief Walks:
Exercise plays an imperative role in reducing blood pressure by enhancing the flexibility of blood vessels and encouraging smoother blood flow. Specialists recommend that a successful approach to combatting high blood pressure is to break your workout schedule into a few shorter, moderate sessions throughout the day, as opposed to one singular intense session. In fact, research has indicated that three 10-minute walks per day can be more effective in preventing future blood pressure spikes than a single 30-minute walk.
Similar to strolling, biking for 30 minutes a day or splitting it into three 10-minute sessions can also be highly beneficial in reducing and maintaining blood pressure.
Engaging in exercises like climbing that require muscle control to handle slants can help increase overall fitness and, in turn, lead to a reduction in blood pressure.
4) Weight Training:
In spite of the fact that at first, weight training raises blood pressure levels temporarily, it contributes to overall health and fitness, which will ultimately lead to improved blood pressure levels.
Studies have highlighted that swimming can be especially beneficial for those over 50 in controlling blood pressure. Over a 12-week period, participants who swam for a duration of 45 minutes per session reduced their systolic blood pressure by an average of nine points. Swimming is a great choice for those who are currently sedentary, looking to slowly build up their exercise routine.
It must be emphasised that these benefits of exercise only come to fruition when it's sustained. Consistency is key.
Can lifestyle changes help decrease blood pressure levels?
Like many health conditions, medication may seem like the best or only answer to treating high blood pressure. However, it's extremely important to recognise the significance of lifestyle choices when it comes to improving blood pressure levels. A healthy lifestyle can potentially prevent or delay the need for medication.
Here are ten lifestyle changes that you can adopt to effectively lower your blood pressure or maintain it at a healthy level:
1) Avoid excess weight
Blood pressure and weight tend to go hand in hand. As weight increases, blood pressure levels do too. Therefore, it’s highly recommended to maintain a healthy weight or to lose excess weight if necessary, through exercise and a healthy diet. Having excess fat around the waist is particularly harmful in terms of blood pressure (and other health concerns).
2) Move regularly
Exercising regularly is key to lowering blood pressure. It’s recommended to aim for around 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week. Alongside activities such as jogging, walking, swimming, or cycling, it is also highly beneficial to carry out strength training twice a week.
Here at WeGym, we understand that for some, strength training may seem a little daunting or ‘out of their depth’, especially if it’s a brand new concept. This is something we are extremely passionate about helping individuals of all ages with. Head to www.wegym.co.uk to find out more about our personal training services, or get in touch with us today. The best part? Our expert trainers will come to you so you can work out in the comfort of your own home or at your preferred location near you. We also offer online training, so you can work out with our experts anywhere and at any time. For a limited time only, we are offering 50% off your first session.
3) Eat a healthy diet
It’s highly advised to eat a wide variety of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. The Mediterranean diet is a fantastic diet to adopt or take inspiration from. Head to our 'heart healthy Mediterranean salmon bowl' recipe here.
5) Cut back on sodium
It is also important to limit your sodium intake. While sodium is a necessary mineral, health organisations recommend that adults limit their sodium intake to less than 2,300 mg (about one teaspoon of salt) per day.
A number one tip is to always check food labels, as packaged foods are often higher in sodium than you may expect. Try to eat home-made meals as often as you can, and use herbs and spices for flavour instead of salt.
6) Avoid excess alcohol
In order to look after your blood pressure and health as a whole, it’s crucial to be mindful when it comes to alcohol consumption. Excessive drinking can not only elevate blood pressure, abut also interfere with the effectiveness of blood pressure medications. According to the NHS, "it's recommended to drink no more than 14 units of alcohol a week, spread across 3 days or more."
7) Avoid smoking
Smoking is a known contributor to increased blood pressure. Quitting smoking can lead to lowered blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart disease, and enhance overall well-being, potentially extending your lifespan.
8) Prioritise Good Quality Sleep
Adults should aim to get at least 7 hours of sleep every night. It's not only the length of sleep that's important, but also the quality. If you frequently struggle with sleep problems, it's advisable to consult your healthcare provider for evaluation and management. To improve sleep quality, try to maintain a consistent sleep schedule (going to bed and waking up at the same time when possible), create a comfortable sleeping environment (cool, quiet, and dark), engage in relaxing activities before bedtime, avoid consuming heavy meals or stimulants close to bedtime, and limit daytime naps to 30 minutes.
9) Manage Stress
Persistent stress can raise blood pressure, therefore, it's important to manage your stress as much as you can. Strategies include effective time management, avoiding stress-inducing situations when possible, and dedicating time to relaxation methods such as yoga and meditation.
10) Monitor Blood Pressure
Home monitoring of blood pressure can help you track changes and ensure that medications and lifestyle modifications are effective. Home blood pressure monitors are readily available without a prescription, but it's advisable to consult your healthcare provider before commencing home monitoring. Regular checkups with a healthcare provider are also vital for blood pressure management, however, if your blood pressure is well-controlled at home, this may allow for less frequent checks.
By implementing these lifestyle changes, you can take proactive steps to lower and maintain healthy blood pressure levels, ultimately contributing to your overall well-being.
Get in touch
If you’d like an expert to help you kickstart your fitness journey and keep you motivated for the long term, get in touch with us at WeGym. Our expert personal trainers will come to your home, or your location of choice at whatever time suits you and your schedule.