It’s quite dangerous and strenuous on your heart to have high blood pressure, but taking medication for hypertension is also not ideal. Controlling and reducing high blood pressure requires some lifestyle adjustments such as the following:
1. Control your weight
If you’re overweight, it exacerbates the effects of hypertension. Losing as little as 5 kg can already reduce hypertension, so speak to your doctor about effective weight management to help lower your blood pressure.
2. Get regular exercise
Fitting in moderate exercise of 30 to 60 minutes per day can have a huge impact on lowering your blood pressure. Consult with your doctor about developing an effective exercise routine – a 20-minute walk followed by 10 minutes of light strength training will have a great effect on hypertension. Avoid irregular bursts of overly strenuous exercises.
3. Eat healthy
Keep sodium to a minimum (and counter it with potassium, such as that in bananas) and make sure you get plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, along with a diet rich in oats, whole grains, and low-fat dairy.
4. Watch your alcohol consumption
Small amounts of alcohol can actually have a positive effect on your high blood pressure, but if you didn’t drink alcohol before, don’t start when you already have hypertension. Existing drinkers should keep alcohol intake to one drink, three times per week for women, and not more than two drinks for men.
5. Avoid smoke and smoking
Nicotine raises blood pressure, so hypertension is as good a reason as any to stop smoking or avoid being around smokers.
6. Avoid caffeine and stress
Caffeine doesn’t affect all hypertension sufferers, so to see if it affects you, check your blood pressure within half an hour after your last cup of coffee. If your blood pressure has risen five to 10 points, you are sensitive to the effects of caffeine and it’s best to reduce your intake to as little caffeine as possible – if any.
Stress can negatively impact hypertension. Either find a way to reduce your stress, or find a way to better manage the effects of stress. Breathing exercises and meditation, or yoga and massage are great de-stressors, but don’t be afraid of seeking professional help if the self-help route isn’t as effective you’d hoped it would be.
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