Living an active lifestyle not only helps manage your weight, but it also strengthens your heart, lowers stress levels, and helps control high blood pressure. Get your health on track by taking control of your lifestyle habits to prevent and minimize serious heart problems from occurring.
In the previous two blogs I discussed the signs, symptoms, and effects of developing high blood pressure which could in turn develop into heart disease or other illnesses. If you missed this valuable information, these thinks will take you right to them!
TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR BLOOD PRESSURE
Lifestyle routines play an important role in preventing as well as treating high blood pressure. If you’ve been diagnosed with high blood pressure, know that there are ways to take control of your health that may avoid, delay, or reduce the need for medication. By making lifestyle changes, you can lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk of heart disease. Nothing is ever easy, but if you commit to yourself and your beautiful life, you can make small changes that will equate to big results.
Lose excess weight, especially around the middle.
• Weight loss is one of the most effective lifestyle changes to control BP.
• As weight increases, typically blood pressure follows.
• Excess weight can cause sleep apnea (disrupted breathing while sleeping), which further raises blood pressure.
• Carrying a ‘spare tire’ around the waistline increases HBP risk.
• Regular physical activity helps avoid developing hypertension.
• If you have hypertension or HBP, exercise can lower levels by about 5-8 mm Hg.
• As a simple rule, aim to achieve 30 minutes most days of the week.
• Commit to make exercise part of your daily routine. If it’s not consistent, BP could rise again.
• Consult with your doctor, or a qualified health professional about developing a specific exercise program for you.
Eat a healthy diet
• Learn what foods are best for your diet to get your weight on track.
• Changing eating habits aren’t easy, but you can adopt a healthy diet by in taking real foods that are rich in nutrients and colors.
• Read food labels before you buy. If you don’t know what the ingredients are, why would you eat it?
• Eat foods low in sodium (1,500 mg a day or less). Flavor with herbs instead!
• Monitor what, how much, and when to understand your true eating habits.
• Be patient for your palate to adjust over time.
• Drinking alcohol in moderation can be both good and bad for your health.
• Good: Generally, one drink a day for women, or two a day for men can potentially lower blood pressure by about 4 mm Hg.
• Bad: Drinking more than moderate amounts can actually raise blood pressure. It can also reduce the effectiveness of blood pressure medications.
• Be aware and responsible!
• A single cigarette increases your blood pressure for many minutes after you finish.
• Quitting can reduce your risk of heart disease and improve your overall health.
• Having that jolt of caffeine can increase your energy, but it may also contribute to raising your blood pressure up to 10 mm Hg!
• Caffeine sensitivity effects everyone differently, so know your own effects.
• Stress may contribute to HBP causing you to react by eating unhealthy food, drinking alcohol, or smoking.
• Learn what triggers your stress and consider ways to eliminate or reduce the associated causes.
• Make time to relax and do activities or hobbies you enjoy.
Monitor blood pressure & have regular check ups
• Home monitoring can help you keep tabs on your BP, make certain your lifestyle changes are working, and alert you and your doctor to potential health complications.
• Regular doctor visits are important to be cared for by a health professional and to control your blood pressure appropriately.
WHAT EXERCISES ARE BEST FOR LOWERING BLOOD PRESSURE?
While there are many types of exercises that are beneficial for lowering blood pressure, aerobic (cardio) activities are the best choice. Aerobic exercises include; power walking, jogging, hiking, swimming, any sports activity, and even household chores like vacuuming. In order to reap the aerobic training benefits, maintain a moderate intensity for a period of time to elevate the heart rate and condition your heart muscle. Commit to an aerobic program 3-4 days a week and progress to more when you feel comfortable!
Remember, it’s not a competition. Conditioning your body takes self patience and continual effort to develop. So, start slowly by taking rest when needed so that your body builds up your endurance and stamina strength.
PUMP IT WORKOUT
To keep your health on a positive track, take charge of your fitness with a workout that delivers strength for your muscles, your heart, and your mind. This Total Gym circuit, along with a healthy diet, contains all you need to condition your major muscles, elevate your heart rate, and improve your overall wellbeing.
The workout contains 3 short circuits of cardio exercises followed by a core drill. It’s designed to help burn calories and keep your body in motion.
The workout can be performed by either: a continual circuit or repeated intervals
• Continual circuit: performing each exercise once through for the desired time
• Repeated intervals: perform each exercise in the circuit, perform 2-3 sets, then move on to the next circuit and perform in the same manor
Once you become familiar with all the exercises in each circuit, you then can begin to vary the circuits by either:
1. mixing up the exercises in a different order
2. vary the duration of the performed exercises
3. add in other exercises you want to include
For example; perform each cardio exercise for 2-3 minutes, then incorporate an active rest by doing a strength exercise of your choice. The main goal is to stay in continual motion for a set period of time and keep your workouts interesting.
Equipment needed: Total Gym, Squat Stand, timer
• Set a timer for a designated period of time.
(Try to sustain your workout time for 20 minutes to start, even if you need to take rest.)
• Dynamically warm-up prior to starting the workout.
• Perform the exercises within each circuit for 30-60 seconds.
• If time permits, repeat each circuit twice (as noted ‘REPEAT 2xs’).
WARM-UP (3-5 minutes)
10 Side Bends (10/side)
10 Waist Twists
10 Side to Side Squats (10/leg)
10 Plie Squat & Reach
10 Lateral Lunge & Reach (10/leg)
CORE: Incline Forearm Plank
Single Leg Jumps
Alternating Single Leg Jumps
Running + Elbow-Knee Twists
CORE: Jack Taps
Side Lying Hops (Right & Left leg)
CORE: Incline Plank Tucks
End your workout with a series of stretches to lengthen the muscles you just worked as well as prevent injury!
NOTE: The total circuit time will vary depending on how many sets you perform. The goal is to build stamina and muscular endurance.
• Total Time for 1 set: approximately 15 minutes including warm-up
• Total Time for 2 sets: approximately 25 minutes including warm-up
See how it goes and how you feel. More time can always be added to your cardio workout!
Be sure to check out the video to see how these exercises are performed on your Total Gym!
The best prevention from high blood pressure is to manage your health and make changes that matter! Now get to it by moving and pumping that heart rate up!