Lifestyle plays an important role in treating your high blood pressure. If you successfully control your blood pressure with a healthy lifestyle, you might avoid, delay or reduce the need for medication. Jeffrey Beck, exercise specialist with the the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute in Murray, recommends that yo do the following three things in order to help normalize your blood pressure now:
1) Eat a banana each day:
Bananas are a great source of potassium, which is a key mineral that the body relies on to function properly. This includes helping to lower blood pressure by balancing out the negative effects of salt. Other foods high in potassium include avocados, spinach and pomegranate, to name a few. Try to follow a low sodium diet as well (2,000 mg of sodium daily) and refrain from adding salt to your food.
2) Do 150 minutes of cardio weekly:
This equates to doing 30 minutes of moderate intensity cardio 5 days per week. If you are just starting out and can't do all 30 minutes at once, start by doing 10 minutes per day and adding a few minutes to that time every other day until you get to 30 minutes. You can also split up your time by doing 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes at night if that fits your schedule better. Weight lifting is also important and should be included in your weekly exercise routine.
3) Reduce your stress:
Chronic stress is an important contributor to high blood pressure. You can combat stress by implementing progressive muscle relaxation techniques, which is a two-step process in which you systematically tense and relax different muscle groups in the body. This can help you to you react to the first signs of the muscular tension that accompanies stress. And as your body relaxes, so will your mind. Do the following sequence a few days per week and feel the difference:
Start at your feet and work your way up to your face, trying to only tense those muscles intended.
- Loosen clothing, take off your shoes, and get comfortable.
- Take a few minutes to breathe in and out in slow, deep breaths.
- When you’re ready, shift your attention to your right foot. Take a moment to focus on the way it feels.
- Slowly tense the muscles in your right foot, squeezing as tightly as you can. Hold for a count of 10.
- Relax your foot. Focus on the tension flowing away and how your foot feels as it becomes limp and loose.
- Stay in this relaxed state for a moment, breathing deeply and slowly.
- Shift your attention to your left foot. Follow the same sequence of muscle tension and release.
- Move slowly up through your body, contracting and relaxing the different muscle groups.
- It may take some practice at first, but try not to tense muscles other than those intended.