Go big or go home: the worst advice ever. Most people who try and go big end up back home, right where they started.
You might be able to relate if you’ve tried and failed at lowering your blood pressure. It’s probably true that you know what to do: exercise more, eat better, cut down on salt, etc. But you likely don’t know how to do it.
Most people try and take a big bite out of all this stuff at once… and get some results. The numbers start to drop. But for how long? When you go big with blood pressure management, you’ll soon find it can be unsustainable.
Nearly half of U.S. adults have high blood pressure and may have no idea a) that they have it and b) how dangerous it is. High blood pressure, or hypertension, is known as the silent killer because it creeps up. You can’t feel it, and you may not realize it until it’s very late in the game.
High blood pressure, especially when you’ve had it for a long time, can put your body into submission. It will damage most of your organs and potentially impair brain function, your kidneys, heart function, and blood vessels.
It can also lead directly to stroke, heart attack, heart failure, kidney failure, peripheral artery disease, and significantly boost the risk for cognitive decline, dementia, and Alzheimer’s.
But you may be able to start getting blood pressure under control by making minor, incremental adjustments to your lifestyle.
These tips might not work for everyone all the time, and medication might still be required in some cases. But for most, these should contribute to lower blood pressure.
Start with a little bit of walking. Whether you’re on a treadmill, trail, or going around the block, start walking. Over time you’ll likely find yourself walking further and kicking up the intensity. Just remember to start small.
Reduce salt intake. Paying attention to how much salt you’re eating can play a significant role in blood pressure. Start scaling back processed food, then eventually try and reach a target of no more than 1500 milligrams per day.
De-stress: Relaxing activities like yoga and mindfulness may help you on your way to lower blood pressure. When the mind is calm, it’s easy for the body to follow.