If you have high blood pressure or are simply trying to prevent it, try these tips in addition to speaking with your primary care physician.
Sit less, move more. Recent research has shown how sitting six to eight hours per day is linked to a variety of complications that can threaten overall wellbeing. Try to move often throughout the day. Every 30 minutes that you sit, try to get up, take a walk or stretch. According to both the Cleveland Clinic and Mayo Clinic, “doing 150 minutes of aerobic activity a week can lower blood pressure 5 to 8 mm Hg.”
Eat a healthy diet and lower your salt intake. Modifying your diet to include whole grains, fruits, veggies, low-fat dairy products while reducing salt, saturated fat and cholesterol can make a positive impact on your blood pressure.
Lose weight. By maintaining a healthy weight, you can significantly lower the likelihood of developing high blood pressure.
Reduce stress. Chronic stress is known to negatively impact blood pressure. Find new ways to unwind. Try spending time in nature, reading, practicing self-care, exercising or trying a fitness or hobby class. According to the American Heart Association, some ways to cope with stress include: exercising, maintaining a healthy diet and weight, and engaging in relaxation or stress-management techniques. Other helpful strategies include yoga, meditation and a support system of friends and family members you can talk to and enjoy. If stress ever escalates to anxiety, however, it might be time to talk with your doctor about a treatment plan that’s right for you.
Get your Zzz’s. If you don’t get enough sleep, you could put yourself at risk for cardiovascular disease, stroke, or heart attack – no matter your age or health status. It is recommended that you aim to get seven to eight hours of sleep each night.
Blood Pressure Guidelines
- Normal: Systolic less than 120 and diastolic less than 80
- Elevated: Systolic 120 to 129 and diastolic less than 80
- High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) Stage 1: Systolic 130 to 139 or diastolic 80 to 89
- High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) Stage 2: Systolic 140 or higher or diastolic 90 or higher
- Hypertensive Crisis (consult your doctor immediately): Systolic higher than 180 and/or diastolic higher than 120
Did You Know? Measuring blood pressure in both arms may reveal a higher heart attack risk. A difference of 10 points or more means a 38% greater chance of having a heart attack.
“6 Natural Ways to Lower Blood Pressure,” Cleveland Clinic, clevelandclinic.org, June 14, 2019.
“10 Ways to Control High Blood Pressure,” Mayo Clinic Staff, mayoclinic.org, Jan. 1, 2022.