Lifestyle changes in managing High Blood Pressure
If you’ve been diagnosed with high blood pressure, your treating doctor will be your best guide on taking the right medication and lifestyle changes to bring your BP numbers down. Let’s look at some of the lifestyle changes that you can make to manage the condition better. As your doctor would have told you, 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.
- 1. Exercise regularly
Regular physical activity of at least 30 minutes most days of the week can lower your blood pressure by 4 to 9 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). It’s important to be consistent because if you stop exercising, your blood pressure can rise again.
If you have slightly high blood pressure (prehypertension), exercise can help you avoid developing full blown hypertension. If you already have hypertension, regular physical activity can bring your blood pressure down to safer levels.
The best types of exercise for lowering blood pressure include walking, jogging, cycling, swimming or dancing. Strength training also can help reduce blood pressure. Talk to your doctor about developing an exercise program.
- 2. Eat a healthy diet
Eating a diet that is rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low fat dairy products and skimps on saturated fat and cholesterol can lower your blood pressure by up to 14 mm Hg. This eating plan is known as the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet.
It isn’t easy to change your eating habits, but with these tips, you can adopt a healthy diet:
- Keep a food diary. Writing down what you eat, even for just a week, can shed surprising light on your true eating habits. Monitor what you eat, how much, when and why.
- Consider boosting potassium. Potassium can lessen the effects of sodium on blood pressure. The best source of potassium is food, such as fruits and vegetables, rather than supplements. Talk to your doctor about the potassium level that’s best for you.
- Be a smart shopper. Read food labels when you shop and stick to your healthy eating plan when you’re dining out, too.