If you have high blood pressure, you might wonder if you need to take medication to lower the readings. However, changing one’s lifestyle is crucial to managing high blood pressure. Maintaining blood pressure control by a healthy lifestyle may eliminate, postpone, or minimize the need for medication.
These 7 lifestyle modifications can bring down blood pressure and maintain it there.
1. Trim your waistline and lose any extra weight.
Weight gain frequently causes an increase in blood pressure. In addition to raising blood pressure, being overweight can lead to sleep apnea, which disrupts breathing while you’re asleep.
One of the best way of life adjustments for lowering blood pressure is weight loss. Even a minor weight loss can help lower blood pressure if you are obese or overweight. In general, each kilogram (2.2 pounds) of weight dropped may result in a reduction in blood pressure of roughly 1 millimeter of mercury (mm Hg).
The size of the waistline is also crucial. High blood pressure risk can be increased by carrying too much weight around the waist.
All in all:
Men who have a waist measurement of more than 40 inches are at risk (102 centimeters).
Women who have a waist measurement larger than 35 inches are at risk (89 centimeters).
Different ethnic groups have different numbers. Find out from your doctor what waist size is ideal for you.
2. Regular exercise
Physical activity on a regular basis can reduce high blood pressure by 5 to 8 mm Hg. To prevent blood pressure from increasing once more, it’s crucial to continue exercising. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity each day as a general objective.
Exercise can also prevent high blood pressure from developing in those with raised blood pressure (hypertension). Regular exercise can help people with hypertension lower their blood pressure to a safe level.
Walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, or dancing are some forms of aerobic exercise that can lower blood pressure. High-intensity interval training is another option. Short bursts of intense exercise are interspersed with slower intervals of activity during this form of training.
Additionally, strength exercise helps lower blood pressure. At least twice a week, try to include strength-training activities. Consult a healthcare professional about creating an exercise plan.
3. Consume a balanced diet
A diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol and high in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products can reduce high blood pressure by up to 11 mm Hg. The Mediterranean diet and the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet are two examples of eating regimens that can lower blood pressure.
Salt’s (sodium’s) effects on blood pressure can be lessened by potassium in the diet. Foods like fruits and vegetables are better providers of potassium than supplements. Aim for 3,500 to 5,000 mg per day, which may result in a 4–5 mm Hg reduction in blood pressure. To find out how much potassium you need, talk to your doctor.
4. Eat a diet low in salt (sodium).
Even a little decrease in sodium intake can help the heart and lower blood pressure by 5 to 6 mm Hg.
Different groups of people respond differently to sodium consumption in terms of blood pressure. Generally speaking, keep your daily sodium intake to 2,300 mg or fewer. For most adults, though, a daily salt consumption of 1,500 mg or less is ideal.
To cut back on salt intake:
- Read the food labels. Look for foods and beverages that are low in sodium.
- Eat fewer processed foods. Only a limited quantity of salt is present in food naturally. Sodium is primarily added during processing.
- Avoid adding salt. Use spices or herbs to give food flavor.
- Cook. You can manage the food’s salt content by cooking.
5. Consume alcohol in moderation
It is possible to reduce blood pressure by roughly 4 mm Hg by limiting alcohol consumption to fewer than one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for males. 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of an 80-proof liquor constitute one drink.
However, consuming too much alcohol can cause a significant increase in blood pressure. Additionally, it may lessen the impact of blood pressure drugs.
6. Give up smoking
Blood pressure goes up when you smoke. Smoking cessation lowers blood pressure. It may also lengthen life by lowering the risk of heart disease and enhancing general health.
7. Have a restful night’s sleep
Getting less than six hours of sleep each night for a few weeks might result in poor sleep quality, which can lead to hypertension. Numerous conditions, such as sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome, and general insomnia, can interfere with sleep (insomnia).
If you frequently have difficulties sleeping, let your healthcare professional know. Sleep quality can be increased by identifying and treating the problem. To achieve more comfortable sleep, however, if you don’t suffer sleep apnea or restless legs syndrome, try these easy suggestions.
- Respect a sleeping pattern. Set a consistent bedtime and wake-up time each day. On weeknights and weekends, make an effort to maintain the same schedule.
- Make a peaceful environment. This calls for maintaining a cold, calm, and dark sleeping environment. Spend the hour before going to bed resting. This could be taking a warm bath or practicing relaxation techniques. Refrain from using bright lights like those from a TV or computer.
- Pay attention to what you consume. Don’t overeat or go to bed hungry. Avoid eating a lot right before bed. Alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine should all be restricted or avoided right before bed.
- Take only brief naps. Limiting naps to 30 minutes early in the day may improve evening sleep for people who find taking naps throughout the day to be beneficial.