It’s the holiday season, and the whole world is looking forward to good times with friends, family, and loved ones. It is the season to be happy and hopeful for a brand new year and not the time to be hypertensive(high blood pressure)! During this time of the year, you’ll hear people talk about their new year resolutions, bucket lists, and other over-ambitious promises that they have made to themselves.
The truth, however, is that most of these new year health resolutions and ambitions fizzle out by the second or third week of January. No matter what resolutions you have made to yourself, one that you should not forego at any cost is the promise to keep your heart healthy! Here are five5 activities that are easy to follow and can help keep your heart healthy.
Don’t let high blood pressure and associated complications dampen your new year’s spirits. Include these 5 simple activities and keep your heart healthy all year long!
Go for a 45-minute walk daily
The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends everyone to get a minimum of 30 to 45 minutes of exercise each day or at least 150 minutes of exercise a week. This can help you shed a few kilos, reduce your waistline, lower your blood pressure and sugar levels. Weight loss is one of the most effective ways to lower your blood pressure. Research states that losing one kilogram can help bring your blood pressure down by 1mm Hg.
Aerobic exercises such as jogging, running, swimming, brisk walking, and cycling every day, along with strength training exercises on alternate days, can help keep your blood pressure within normal limits and your heart healthy!
Eat a berry bowl every alternate day
Eating a healthy diet is vital to keep your blood pressure in the normal range. While you must binge eat fresh fruits and vegetables, eating a berry bowl every alternate day can be highly beneficial. Berries, especially blueberries, are rich in plant compounds like flavonoids, with antioxidant properties. Consuming berries can help lower your blood pressure and reduce oxidative stresses on the heart, both of which can cause cardiovascular conditions.
Quit smoking and limit alcohol consumption
Smoking increases your blood pressure levels, and doing so regularly can cause hypertension. People who smoke are at a greater risk of developing high blood pressure and heart diseases. This new year, quit smoking to lower your blood pressure and risk of developing heart diseases.
While small amounts (one drink a day for women and two a day for men) of alcohol are healthy for your body, consuming it in excess can result in a significant rise in blood pressure. Also, drinking in excess can reduce the effect of blood pressure medications.
Follow a DASH diet
If you are hypertensive and wish to bring down your blood pressure numbers, following a DASH diet can be helpful. A DASH or Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension diet is rich in whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and low-fat dairy products. As per the diet, you must reduce your sodium intake and increase your potassium consumption. Following this diet can lower your blood pressure levels by as much as 11mm Hg. Keep a food log, journal, or use a mobile app to track your food intake and caloric consumption. Also, be an intelligent shopper and pick products that contain less sodium, trans and saturated fats.
Monitor your blood pressure levels regularly
To keep your blood pressure levels in check, you need to monitor your levels at home regularly and visit your doctor for regular checkups. You can also invest in a home blood pressure monitor that is easy to use and allows you to monitor how your lifestyle changes affect your blood pressure levels.
Apart from the activities mentioned above, a few other things that you can do to lower your blood pressure and keep them in the normal range include:
Stress management with yoga, meditation, or mindfulness
Reduce your caffeine intake
Take your medications( if any) as prescribed by your doctor
Get regular checkups during the year
Cut back on your sugar intake
Reduce consumption of processed and packed foods
Get a good night’s sleep every day
Taking care of your heart is vital for your existence, but as you now know, it is super easy. With a few healthy habits and activities, you can bring down your blood pressure levels and strengthen your heart. Visiting your doctor regularly can help you keep your blood pressure levels in check. Find more such interesting articles on BP in Control!
Note of Caution: This article is for information purposes only. Always consult your doctor in case of any blood pressure or other health-related problems.
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