Do you have high blood pressure? (Note: High blood pressure, also known as Hypertension, is when your systolic blood pressure is greater than 130mmHg and/or diastolic blood pressure is greater than 80mmHg.) If you have high blood pressure there is a good chance you may be on a medication for it. Now let’s cut to the chase, and I guarantee you’ve heart this before, EXERCISE IS THE BEST MEDICINE. Are you aware that you can actually exercise yourself off your blood pressure medication? You may have been told this before but let it go in one ear and out the other. You CAN.
Firstly, not everyone is on blood pressure medication, so if that is you, don’t stop reading quite yet. If you have been recently diagnosed with high blood pressure, aren’t on any medications, and don’t want to be, listen up! Researchers and scientists have found through many trials that exercise, such as walking, swimming, resistance training, etc., has been just as good as the majority of drugs used to treat high blood pressure. It is time to act now! Keeping your blood pressure at a healthy level significantly reduces your risk of stroke, heart failure, and kidney disease. That is a pretty big payoff!
Secondly, don’t forget about your diet, because food is another very powerful medicine. Whether you are looking to lose weight or not, eating healthy can also improve your blood pressure. This includes eating fruits, veggies, whole grains, healthy oils, omega-3 fatty acids, and low-fat dairy products. Keep an eye on that salt consumption and consider boosting your potassium intake. There is good news to celebrate for all of the chocolate lovers out there! An ounce of very dark chocolate every day or so also tends to improve blood pressure. So don’t feel guilty treating yourself to some dark chocolate on Valentine’s Day!
Everyone has time for exercise, so there simply is no excuse! Start small and build from there. Even finding a way to squeeze in that extra 10 minutes a day can help get started, or start to pick up the pace when you are out walking the dog. After working on many modifications to your lifestyle after a month or so, visit with your doctor and have them check your blood pressure, you’ll be surprised at what the results may be! Most patients start to see clear improvements!
After reading this information, we don’t think any patients should immediately stop taking antihypertensive medications. Please talk to your doctor before adjusting the usage of any medications you are currently taking.