Want to lower your blood pressure in four simple steps? It’s not as difficult as you think, and the benefits include a decreased risk of heart attack, stroke, kidney disease, eye problems, erectile dysfunction, cognitive difficulties including dementia and osteoporosis. Adopt the following:
- Ditch the cigarettes. Smoking can temporarily spike blood pressure, while promoting long-term damage to blood vessel walls, and raising your risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
- Get moving. Research shows that regular aerobic activity, such as brisk walking, swimming and cycling, can reduce blood pressure, possibly by keeping blood vessels flexible. Regular exercise can also help you lose weight and keep it off, which is crucial to the success of any high blood pressure treatment plan. Start slowly and aim for 30 minutes of aerobic activity most days of the week.
- Stay calm. Stress can raise blood pressure, while relaxation techniques appear to lower it. Learn and practice a mind-body approach such as breath work, yoga or meditation and take advantage of its benefits regularly.
- Eat a healthy diet. Adequate intake of micronutrients, including calcium, magnesium and vitamin C, is essential to maintain blood vessel tone and healthy circulation. Realize that most people’s sodium intake comes from breads, pizza and processed foods, not sprinkling table salt. Work on ways of relying on whole foods daily and not store or restaurant prepared meals. Doing this will ensure that using some moderate table salt for flavoring is harmless.