5 Ways to Help Reduce your Blood Pressure Without Medication
Picture a typical heart attack victim, and you may picture a man. But heart disease is equally a women’s disease. In fact, heart disease is the number one killer of women, causing one third of the deaths in women each year. 1
Women are also nearly as likely as men to suffer one of the biggest risk factors for heart disease, high blood pressure. Almost half of all adults with high blood pressure are women. Those who have reached menopause, are 20 pounds or more overweight or who have a family history of high blood pressure are at particular risk. Therefore, it is equally as important for you as a woman to pay attention to your blood pressure readings as it is for your father, husband, or brother. 2
Good news is, there are ways to help lower blood pressure. One of the most important things is staying active with regular workouts for women like the Curves circuit or MyCurves On Demand. It’s also critical that you educate yourself on blood pressure numbers and how you can help keep yours in a healthy range long-term.
What is High Blood Pressure?
Blood pressure is the pressure in your arteries, both when your heart beats and when it is at rest. The top number in the blood pressure ratio—the systolic pressure—is the pressure when your heart beats. The bottom number—the diastolic pressure—is the pressure in between heartbeats, when your heart is at rest. In women age 20 and over, a healthy blood pressure reading is lower than 120/80. A healthy blood pressure reading helps reduce your risk of heart failure, stroke, and kidney disease. 3
With those benefits in mind, here are five ways to help lower blood pressure:
- Engage in a regular workout for women. One of the most effective things you can do is exercise to help lower blood pressure. You don’t have to do a long, strenuous workout to make a difference; according to the American Heart Association, 30 minutes of daily physical activity is sufficient exercise to help lower high blood pressure. So, a daily 30-minute Curves Circuit or MyCurves On Demand is a perfect way to help lower blood pressure and get a total body workout at the same time. The Curves workout is a full-body workout that combines strength training for women with cardiovascular fitness, an ideal combination for heart health. 4, 5
- Eat a healthy diet. As little as 20 extra pounds can increase your risk for high blood pressure. Coupled with a total body workout, the best way you can keep your weight under control is to follow a healthy eating plan, like the Curves Nutrition and Weight Management. A heart-healthy diet includes plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables; whole grains; low-fat dairy products; lean proteins; fiber; and nuts and seeds. Limit your intake of processed foods, sweets, and high-calorie beverages.
- Put the salt shaker away. One of the most important ways to help lower blood pressure is to cut back on your sodium intake. People with high blood pressure are often salt-sensitive, so reducing your sodium intake can have a positive effect on your blood pressure reading. If you add salt to foods before you eat them, stop. And choose lower sodium options whenever you can. Aim for no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day, preferably less than 1,500 mg if you can. 6
- Cut back on alcohol. It may make you feel calm in the short term, but excess alcohol can increase your blood pressure and reduce the effectiveness of some blood pressure medication. If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation. This means no more than one drink per day for women and no more than two drinks a day for men. 7
- Reduce stress. When you encounter a stressful situation, you can feel your body react. It releases stress hormones that make your heart beat faster and your blood vessels narrow—a perfect recipe for a blood pressure spike. Once acute stress passes, blood pressure goes down once again. Experts aren’t sure if blood pressure stays elevated in cases of long-term stress, but things we do to cope with stress, including smoking, eating unhealthy foods, and drinking too much, can certainly have a negative effect on our systolic and diastolic blood pressure readings. Try to lower the sources of both short and long-term stress in your life as an effective way to help lower blood pressure. A great way to reduce stress is with a total body and strength training workout like the Curves Circuit or MyCurves On Demand. Another good method to lower stress is to learn to better manage it with Curves’ Health and Wellness Program. 8
We cannot change our age or genetic risk factors for high blood pressure, but there are some lifestyle ways to help lower blood pressure that are within your control.
Tactics like engaging in a regular total body workout like the Curves Circuit or MyCurves On Demand, eating a heart-healthy diet by following the Curves Nutrition and Weight Management program, and reducing sources of stress, can go a long way in lowering your chances of developing high blood pressure and reducing your risk for heart disease. To find out more about how you can make informed lifestyle and health choices, visit our blog under the ‘Live’ category!
- The Facts about Women and Heart Disease
- High Blood Pressure and Women
- High Blood Pressure and Heart Disease in Women
- Getting Active to Control High Blood Pressure
- Physical Inactivity and Heart Disease in Women
- The American Heart Association Diet and Lifestyle Recommendations
- Stress and high blood pressure: What’s the connection?