3 effective ways to lower your blood pressure levels

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Here are 3 effective ways to lower your blood pressure levels:

1. Increase activity and exercise more​

In a 2013 study, sedentary older adults who participated in aerobic exercise training lowered their blood pressure by an average of 3.9 percent systolic and 4.5 percent diastolic (4). These results are as good as some blood pressure medications.
As you regularly increase your heart and breathing rates, over time your heart gets stronger and pumps with less effort. This puts less pressure on your arteries and lowers your blood pressure.
How much activity should you strive for? A 2013 report by the American College of Cardiology (ACC) and the American Heart Association (AHA) advises moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity for 40-minute sessions, three to four times per week (5).
If finding 40 minutes at a time is a challenge, there may still be benefits when the time is divided into three or four 10- to 15-minute segments throughout the day (6).
The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) makes similar recommendations (7).
But you don’t have to run marathons. Increasing your activity level can be as simple as:
  • using the stairs
  • walking instead of driving
  • doing household chores
  • gardening
  • going for a bike ride
  • playing a team sport
Just do it regularly and work up to at least half an hour per day of moderate activity.
One example of moderate activity that can have big results is tai chi. A 2017 review on the effects of tai chi and high blood pressure shows an overall average of a 15.6 mm Hg drop in systolic blood pressure and a 10.7 mm Hg drop in diastolic blood pressure, compared to people who didn’t exercise at all (8Trusted Source).
A 2014 review on exercise and lowering blood pressure found that there are many combinations of exercise that can lower blood pressure. Aerobic exercise, resistance training, high-intensity interval training, short bouts of exercise throughout the day, or walking 10,000 steps a day may all lower blood pressure (9Trusted Source).
Ongoing studies continue to suggest that there are still benefits to even light physical activity, especially in older adults (10).

2. Lose weight if you’re overweight​

If you’re overweight, losing even 5 to 10 pounds can reduce your blood pressure. Plus, you’ll lower your risk for other medical problems.
A 2016 review of several studies reported that weight loss diets reduced blood pressure by an average of 3.2 mm Hg diastolic and 4.5 mm Hg systolic (11Trusted Source).


3. Cut back on sugar and refined carbohydrates​

Many scientific studies show that restricting sugar and refined carbohydrates can help you lose weight and lower your blood pressure.
A 2010 study compared a low-carb diet to a low-fat diet. The low-fat diet included a diet drug. Both diets produced weight loss, but the low-carb diet was much more effective in lowering blood pressure.
The low-carb diet lowered blood pressure by 4.5 mm Hg diastolic and 5.9 mm Hg systolic. The diet of low-fat plus the diet drug lowered blood pressure by only 0.4 mm Hg diastolic and 1.5 mm Hg systolic (12Trusted Source).
A 2012 analysis of low-carb diets and heart disease risk found that these diets lowered blood pressure by an average of 3.10 mm Hg diastolic and 4.81 mm Hg systolic (13).
Another side effect of a low-carb, low-sugar diet is that you feel fuller longer, because you’re consuming more protein and fat.



 

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