So, you just got back from the doctor’s office and those two numbers on the blood-pressure monitor were both higher than they should’ve been. What now? High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, puts you at increased risk of heart disease, stroke, and many other severe medical complications. But here’s the good news: You have the power to make changes that will get those numbers down to where your doctor wants them!

 

These three lifestyle changes will take hard work and commitment, but it’s all worth it for a healthier you.

Regular Exercise

At least one doctor has probably already told you to increase your physical activity to get your blood pressure down. Exercise strengthens the heart, and a stronger heart can pump more blood while making less effort. Certain forms of exercise are particularly beneficial for your heart: walking, running, basketball, and tennis, to name a few.

 

Even if you have mobility limitations, upper-body exercises and weight training can still benefit your heart and decrease your blood pressure, especially if you practice consistently.

Low-Sodium Diet

Yes, we all love chips, pretzels, and fries, but all that salt isn’t doing your blood pressure any favors.  Sodium makes it harder for your kidneys to remove unwanted fluid from your body, causing the pressure on your blood vessels to increase. Salty foods also clog your arteries, which can also negatively influence your blood pressure and heart health.

 

Consider swapping out salty snacks for fruits, vegetables, and low-sodium alternatives. Microwave popcorn, for example, is usually loaded with salt and butter, but making your own popcorn with an air popper allows you to season it yourself and ditch the unhealthy additives.

Use an In-Home Blood Pressure Monitor

You can keep track of your blood pressure even if you don’t have a doctor’s appointment coming up. An in-home blood pressure monitor is a simple and convenient way to chart your progress in establishing healthier habits. Basic analog models can cost under $25, and you can find digital models with automatic features for around $40 and up. That’s a small price to pay for a tool that can help you build a foundation of health for years to come.

 

Reducing your blood pressure might seem like a tall order, but it helps to have knowledge and resources at your disposal. Follow these tips and you’ll be seeing 120/80 (or better) before you know it!

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