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10 Effective Lifestyle Changes to Manage High Blood Pressure

Published on: May 07, 2024
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Do you get your blood pressure measured regularly? Well, if you are over 40 or have a family history of heart disease, then it is crucial to control high blood pressure.

This is because hypertension is a silent killer, hardly showing any symptoms before it damages your heart, kidneys, and brain.

In this blog, we will understand the meaning of blood pressure and explore 10 lifestyle changes for controlling blood pressure within the standard range.

What is Blood Pressure?

In simple words, blood pressure is the force with which blood flows inside your arteries. Your heart pumps blood into your arteries each time it beats.

So, the blood pressure is maximum near the heart, where it enters the aorta, and minimum near the smallest branches of arteries.

Blood pressure is defined by two values― systolic and diastolic pressure. The higher value is your systolic pressure, whereas the lower value is the diastolic pressure.

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends controlling blood pressure below 120/80 mm Hg. You can measure your blood pressure with the help of a sphygmomanometer.

Range of Blood Pressure

Significance of Controlling Your Blood Pressure

Controlling blood pressure helps you to stay away from cardiovascular conditions like heart attack, stroke, enlarged heart, heart failure, and peripheral artery disease.

Risk Factors for High Blood Pressure

  • Family history
  • Aged above 60 years
  • Tobacco consumption
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Obese

If you fall in this range, lower your blood pressure to stay healthy.

10 Effective Lifestyle Changes to Control High Blood Pressure

Here is a list of 10 tried and tested lifestyle modifications to lower your blood pressure.

1. Regular Exercises

Practise at least 150 minutes/week of moderate-intensity exercises to lower your blood pressure.

Indulging in walking, jogging, running, swimming, cycling, jumping jacks, air squats, and stair climbing for 30 minutes 5 days a week will lower high blood pressure by approximately 5 to 8 mm Hg.

Along with cardio workouts, strength training exercises are also beneficial in controlling blood pressure. Children and teens can work out for around 1 hour daily to remain heart-healthy and active.

2. Lose Extra Weight

Hypertension is directly related to body weight increase, as weight gain may lead to disrupted breathing amid sleep (sleep apnea), which in turn soars your blood pressure. A kilogram loss in body weight may lead to about a 1 mm Hg decrease in blood pressure.

It’s crucial to maintain your body weight within the standard range, especially around the waistline. Fitness coaches advise a waist measurement of up to 35 inches (89 cm) for women and up to 40 inches (102 cm) for men.

3. Limit Sodium Intake in Diet

To lower your blood pressure, pay attention to salt intake in meals. The total sodium intake in a day should not exceed 1,500 mg.

Avoid foods high in sodium, like processed food, salty snacks, pizza, and salt dressing in salads. Instead, opt for food products rich in potassium.

Nutritionists recommend having 3,000 and 3,500 mg of potassium daily to lower blood pressure by 4 to 5 mm Hg. Bananas, spinach, coconut water, sweet potatoes, and avocados are excellent sources of potassium.

They not only minimise the effect of sodium but also reduce your risk of heart disease.

4. Minimise Stress

Chronic emotional stress often triggers high blood pressure. Stress can develop from multiple sources, like excessive work pressure, emotional turmoil in the family, financial burden, or illness.

Practising deep breathing, meditation, allocating time for hobbies, listening to soothing music, or going on long walks may minimise stress.

5. Indulge in Quality Sleep

Experts suggest 7-9 hours of sleep lowers blood pressure and is essential for staying fresh and active throughout the day. However, multiple issues like insomnia, sleep apnea, or restless leg syndrome may hinder quality sleep.

You may follow a dinner-time routine, limit caffeine and alcohol intake, minimise screen time, and set the right bedroom environment for quality sleep.

6. Quit Smoking

Smoking increases your blood pressure and also raises the risk of developing a heart attack or stroke. Harmful compounds in cigarettes, like nicotine, cause inflammation, damage the inner lining of blood vessels, and constrict the arteries.

Hardened and inflamed blood vessels, in turn, raise your blood pressure. You may try out nicotine gums, sprays, patches, and inhalers to quit smoking.

7. Limit Alcohol

A 2020 study pointed out that high‐dose alcohol (> 30 g) may increase your heart rate by 5.8 bpm.

Though your blood pressure may drop initially due to alcohol consumption, eventually, it increases your systolic pressure by up to 3.7 mm Hg and diastolic pressure by up to 2.4 mm Hg.

Limit alcohol to 1 standard drink per day for females and 2 drinks per day for males.

8. Consume Heart-Healthy Diet

The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) recommends the consumption of fresh green vegetables, fruits, whole grains, omega-3 fatty acids-riches fishes (salmon, tuna, and trout), nuts, and seeds to lower your blood pressure.

Plan your meals efficiently so they are low in saturated fat and cholesterol. In this way, you can reduce your blood pressure by up to 11 mm Hg.

9. Reduce Sugar & Refined Carbohydrate Intake

Limiting sugar and refined carbohydrate consumption can significantly reduce your blood pressure and body weight. A 2020 study pointed out that low-carbohydrate and low-fat could reduce systolic pressure by 5.14 mm Hg and diastolic pressure by 3.21 mm Hg after 6 months.

Avoid cakes, pizza, pasta, cookies, and sugar-loaded beverages to control high blood pressure.

10. Reduce Caffeine

Do not drink excessive caffeinated beverages like coffee, tea, or energy drinks. They may spike your blood pressure, especially among minors or if you are living with other medical conditions.

Limit coffee consumption to 1-3 cups daily. If limiting coffee impacts your well-being, you may also try decaffeinated coffee.

How We At Fitterfly Can Help You?

Controlling blood pressure below 120/80 mm Hg is crucial for your well-being, as high blood pressure may damage your heart, kidneys, and brain.

You can maintain your blood pressure within the standard range by following a healthy lifestyle, like practicing regular exercises, limiting stress, consuming a heart-healthy diet, and proper sleep.

Need help listing healthy guidelines for successfully controlling blood pressure? Our FitHeart team of experienced nutritionists and specialists will craft a tailored diet and exercise regime for you.

All you need to do is give us a missed call on 08069450746 to check out Fitterfly’s FitHeart Program.

Calculate Your Heart Age Now!

Disclaimer

This blog provides general information for educational and informational purposes only and shouldn't be seen as professional advice.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the standard blood pressure for healthy individuals?

The optimal blood pressure level is below 120/80 mm Hg. However, you should also consider other chronic factors like kidney ailments or coronary artery diseases to determine the standard blood pressure.

What is a hypertensive crisis?

A hypertensive crisis is a sudden, alarming rise in blood pressure when it reaches 180/120 mm Hg or above. You should consider immediate hospitalisation in this scenario.

How is weight loss related to blood pressure control?

Weight reduction is directly related to blood pressure control. Even a slight weight loss of 5 pounds (2.3 kg) can reduce blood pressure among overweight individuals. The AHA advocates 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week to manage blood pressure.

What is the DASH diet?

Most nutritionists recommend Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) to control high blood pressure. It comprises fat-free or low-fat dairy vegetables, fruits, and whole grains rich in potassium, calcium, and magnesium.

- By Fitterfly Health-Team

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