Lowering high blood pressure can be intimidating. It may involve changing your diet, piling on exercise, or other measures that can leave you wondering how you’re ever going to do it.
The answer is one step at a time. Literally.
The most significant barriers to exercise are time constraints and fear. But the truth is that increasing activity levels doesn’t take much time, and it doesn’t have to require any kind of particular skill or knowledge.
You don’t have to perform complicated movements or block out chunks of your day for dedicated exercise. All you really have to do is start moving more than you already are.
That could mean walking to the corner store instead of driving. Maybe it’s getting up to stroll the halls during a commercial break of your favorite television show. It could even involve using a pedaling device while you watch a movie.
Research suggests the benefits of movement on blood pressure can be achieved by simply doing more. Walking for 20–30 minutes per day does not have to be done in a single block of time. It can be distributed into multiple five-minute installments during the day.
The key is really finding opportunities throughout the day to limit the time you spend sedentary. The more of that time you can replace with movement, the better it is for your blood pressure.
You don’t really have to think about it. Once you start moving more, it’s likely your activity levels will continue to grow. You’ll become more capable of more extended periods of motion and likely find yourself looking for ways to do more.
From there, it’s easy for other heart-healthy practices to fall in line. You might notice you’re feeling better, and the idea of making some dietary changes seems more attainable. Second, third, and fourth steps always follow the first, even if they come slowly.
You have the power and tools to lower your blood pressure. Don’t get overwhelmed by the journey ahead of you. Just take the first step.