Lower your blood pressure by going to the zoo?

By: Dr. Victor Marchione | Blood Pressure | Wednesday, April 15, 2015 - 05:12 AM

lower-blood-pressureBlood pressure on the rise? Maybe you’ve already changed your diet, took salt out of the picture, and maybe you even began exercising a bit. Sure, these are notable means of lowering blood pressure, but they’re not all you can do.

In fact, there are ways to lower your blood pressure naturally that you’ve probably already done and not even realized how beneficial they are. Here are 4 tips you should try:

1 Watch animals

Think of the feeling you get when you see a dog or cat (or a picture of one)… Warm and fuzzy, right? Well, think of the amusement and awe when you head to a zoo and see those wild, exotic animals that simply don’t live in your backyard. They are truly a sight of wonder. It turns out, being around animals is good for your blood pressure.

In a Japanese study, participants were asked to visit a zoo. What researchers uncovered was that the participants’ systolic blood pressure – the number you see on top – dropped by 6 percent. Better yet, their diastolic blood pressure – the bottom number – dropped 8 percent. Not too bad for looking at some lions and tigers and bears.

When we observe animals, our parasympathetic nervous system becomes engaged. This is the part of the nervous system which can slow down our heart rates. In turn, our blood pressure goes down and we’re better able to combat stress. We know that stress can be a trigger for higher blood pressure, so taking some time out of your day to look at some animals – whether online or in person – can relax you and bring down your blood pressure.

2 Look to the sun
method-to-lower-blood-pressureWe tend to feel our best when the sun is shining bright in comparison to those dark and gloomy days. Well, take advantage of those sunny days even more, when it comes to lowering blood pressure. The University of Edinburg revealed that individuals who were exposed to UV rays experienced a drop in their blood pressure. Sunlight has the ability to produce more nitric oxide within the body by converting nitrate which is stored in the skin.

Nitric oxide works to dilate blood vessels allowing for better blood flow in the body. When your blood is flowing, there is less of an impact of blood against your vessels, causing your blood pressure to drop. But remember to practice safe sun! Sunscreen is always a must and don’t forget a hat as well. Lastly, stay hydrated when you’re outdoors in the sun to decrease the risk of dehydration and sun stroke.

3 Help out your community
Volunteering your time is a great means to not only help others, but to lower your blood pressure as well. According to Carnegie Mellon University, adults who volunteer at least 200 hours a year have a 40 percent lower risk of developing high blood pressure.

Volunteering creates social connections and bonds. When this happens, we become more relaxed and feel better connected to the world. Also, by volunteering for a cause that benefits the less fortunate you can put your own situation into perspective, once again reducing stress.

If you have the opportunity to help out in the community, why not give it a try? Join a church group or a community center; all you need is four hours a week. Reducing time spent alone is beneficial not only to your overall health, but specifically to your blood pressure.

4 Bust a move
dancing-workout-for-healthy-bonesEver seen a stressed-out guitarist or pianist? Probably not. Musicians generally have lower blood pressure compared to non-musicians, according to a study published in the Netherlands Heart Journal. But even if you don’t know how to play an instrument, music can still positively affect your blood pressure, even more so if you dance to it.

A Japanese study looked at participants who sang along and moved to the music they were listening to. These individuals had a significant decrease in their blood pressure. Furthermore, Italian researchers studied individuals where some listened to Mozart and others sat in silence. Those who listened to the music had lower blood pressure.

But why does music help lower blood pressure? When we listen to music, we feel good, largely thanks to the hormone dopamine – the feel good hormone – being released in the brain. When we feel good, we become less stressed and are at ease, causing our blood pressure to go down. So why not listen to some of your favorite tunes and, better yet, dance to them as well!

Alternative methods to lower blood pressure

As you can see, lowering your blood pressure doesn’t have to be restricted to changes to your diet or starting to exercise. There are alternative methods that are just as effective in bringing down those numbers.

The importance of lowering blood pressure naturally is high. Over time, high blood pressure can lead to permanent damage to your heart, increase your risk of blood clots, increase the workload of your circulatory system, and cause damage to other organs.

These are all serious health concerns, so maintaining a healthy blood pressure is a must.

So why not give some of these options a try? The more ways you can stay healthy, the better.


Related Reading:

Surprising causes of high blood pressure 

How healthy is your blood pressure? And exactly what causes high blood pressure, anyway? It rises with each and every heartbeat and then falls as your heart relaxes between beats. It can change from minute to minute with exercise, stress, sleep, even your posture.

Natural blood pressure fix: Beet juice 

High blood pressure can take a serious toll on your overall health. Getting your numbers down to normal is crucial for a healthy heart and to avoid the onset of heart-related diseases. But if you’re a bit wary of taking prescription drugs to lower your blood pressure, there may be a natural fix which research has shown to be quite effective.

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