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10 Natural Ways To Lower Blood Pressure

10 Natural Ways To Lower Blood Pressure

There are a lot of people with higher than normal blood pressure these days. If your doctor has expressed concern about your blood pressure, don’t worry – there are ways to lower your blood pressure naturally, and hopefully you can avoid medication. However, if you leave it too long, it will be too late to lower it naturally and you’ll have to depend on medication. High blood pressure can lead to heart disease, kidney and heart failure, and stroke – to name a few! This condition is definitely worth taking seriously.

High blood pressure can be caused by a variety of issues: stress, existing health problems like kidney disease, genetics, obesity, too much sodium, and many more. Sometimes people look at a list like this and think “how will I ever find the time to fix all of this?” People lead busy lives these days, but these solutions won’t take too much of your time. In fact, by making different decisions each day, you can lower your blood pressure and impress your doctor! Here are 10 changes you can make that are proven to lower blood pressure:

1. Reduce Sodium Intake

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    This is probably the easiest and fastest one on the list. All you have to do is taking a quick look at the sodium amount listed in the nutritional content of any food and pick the healtheir option. Many restaurants are now listing which menu items are lower in sodium or fat content, so eating out won’t require too much added research either. You can also reduce sodium by gradually decreasing the amount of salt you add to your meals. Over time your taste buds will adapt and you won’t notice the difference.

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    2. Add More Vitamins and Minerals to Your Diet

    Pill Box

      Specifially, Vitamin B6, Potassium, Magnesium and Calcium. All of these are proven to naturally lower blood pressure, and they all have other health benefits as well. For example, did you know that a high number of people don’t have enough magnesium? However, before taking any additional supplements, be sure to talk to your doctor, particularly if you are already on any other medications. Because of drug interactions, you may need to take these supplements at different times or you may not even be able to take one or two of them.

      3. Lower Your Blood Sugar

        High blood sugar is a growing problem because of all the refined sugars and carbs available today. (Too bad they are cheap and delicious!) You don’t necessarily have to elminate these foods completely, but if your blood pressure is very high, you may want to avoid them completely until your health is under control. After that, you can probably indulge in a sweet treat once in a while, but be careful not to overdo it. Another product that increases blood sugar is sodas and other sugary drinks. If you the fizz of these drinks and carbonation will make water easier to drink, try mineral water like Perrier or San Pelligrino. You can find them wih natural flavors like lime and lemon.

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        4. Try Some Cardio

        Man Running Outside Along Desert Trail

          Cardio is a good way to lose excess pounds and get your heart pumping, both of which will help to lower your blood pressure. Busy people don’t have time to spend hours at the gym, but you can get some excercise in throughout the day, just by making some changes. Try taking the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator whenever you have the option. If you work or live in a building where you are constantly taking the elevator, this alone will be a dramatic increase in your cardio exercise. You can also buy a step counter and wear it each day. Set some step goals and challenge yourself to increase the amount of steps you take each day.

          5. Weight Training

          weights

            Just like cardio, weight training can help you get in better shape which will result in lower blood pressure. If you don’t have time to hit the gym, try putting ankle weights on for part of the workday or using weights while watching Netflix in the evenings. You don’t have to carve out a hige amount of time to lift weights; you can get creative about it and do two things at once.

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            6. Yoga or Pilates

            yoga1

              Relaxing and beathing deeper are two keys to lower blood pressure. Yoga will help you to breathe deeply, relax your body and your mind, and stretch out your muscles. Pilates will make you sweat a little more than yoga, but ithis low-impact exercise will also help you to relax and is good for your muscles and joints. If you have time, try to do one or both of these at least twice a week.

              7. Walking

              walking

                Something as simple as going for a walk can do wonders for your mind and your body. In addition to helping you lower your blood pressure, walking will help you to lose weight, realx your body, give you new perspective on a problem, and it also gives you a much needed break from your busy day. Try taking some time out of your lunch hour to go for a walk and enjoy the sights and sounds around you.

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                8. Sleep More

                sleep

                  Because of the nature of the typical Western lifestyle these days, sleep has become a precious commodity that no one gets enough of. Over time however, lack of sleep can be a cause of high blood pressure. If your sleep cycle has become disrupted after too many late nights and early mornings, you can try taking Melatonin, (consult your doctor first) a naturally-occuring sleep hormone in your body. You shouldn’t take too much of it, and it should only be used for a short time to get your sleep cycle back on track. You can also ask your doctor for something stronger to help you sleep. Your to-do list will have to wait until morning or the weekend to get some, because sleep is (and should be) very important.

                  9. Kick the Bad Habits

                  no smoking

                    If you smoke, it will be very hard for you to lower your blood pressure naturally unless you quit. If you are serious about it, there are many options available today that have made it easier for a lot of smokers to quit. Cognitive beavior therapy, the Nicotine Patch, and the Nicotine Inhaler have all been successful. If you drink too much, this will also cause your blood pressure to rise. However, a glass of red wine has been proven to help lower blood pressure. You can still have a drink to unwind after a busy day, but you may have to change your drink of choice.

                    10. Learn to Relax

                    Girl Sitting Alone On Swing In Autumn

                      We live in a fast-paced, busy world that demands we rush to get to work, rush to get things done, rush home to spend time with our kids before going to bed and starting all over again the next day. The stress of this lifestyle is taking a severe toll on our bodies, and high blood pressure is one of the results. If you want to lower your blood pressure naturally, this is one of the most important ways to do it. You can (and should) take care of all the other items on this list, but if you fail to learn to relax and destress, you will be fighting this battle with your body for the rest of your life. Stress is very powerful and can severely harm your body if left unchecked. To successfully lower your blood pressure you will have to find a ways to relax. You may need to go to counselling to learn how to destress, schedule some “me time” where no one will bother you, or even change your job. In the long run, stress is just not worth your health. You don’t have to do it all at once – start with small, managable steps like taking the long way home a couple times a week, scheduling a day off here and there to spend with your family, or making time for a massage a couple times a month.

                      Featured photo credit: Piotr Marcinski via shutterstock.com

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                      Published on October 11, 2018

                      7 Killer Upper Back Stretches to Reduce Pain and Boost Endurance

                      7 Killer Upper Back Stretches to Reduce Pain and Boost Endurance

                      Building and maintaining a strong upper back depends not only on strength-training, but stretching and nutrition as well. Stretching the upper back muscles, along with a healthy diet can help alleviate pain while improving endurance.

                      Did you know that stretching your upper back builds endurance for sports, your job – which may require heavy lifting – and simple, everyday activities? Many people who exercise don’t recognize the importance of having a strong upper back, and often neglect this part of the body, focusing more on the lower back where injuries are more prone to occur.

                      Upper back endurance is necessary for runners, hikers, golfers, tennis players, bowlers, cyclists; the list goes on and on. If saving time is important to you, you want to reduce chronic back pain, boost your energy levels, or you simply need ways to get through a day at the office while confined to a computer, you’ll begin to understand why the following upper back stretches and exercises are necessary.

                      Here are seven stretches, combined with exercises, to help you maintain a strong upper back:

                      1. Lat Pull-Downs

                      By contracting and lengthening your latissimus dorsi muscles, trapezius, deltoids, rhomboids, teres major, along with the other muscles groups in and around your upper back, you are building muscle endurance and increasing mobility.

                      Seated at a lat pull-down machine, select a weight stack that is comfortable. Remember, you’re not preparing for a bodybuilding competition, you just want to exercise the back, so heavy weight is unnecessary.

                      Grab the wide bar above your head, palms down, and using a wide grip, pull the bar down to your chest and contract your upper back muscles.

                      Keep your head up, looking at the bar. This also helps keep your spine straight and provides a clearance so that the bar doesn’t hit your face. Slowly return the bar to the top and repeat for 15 reps. Do three to four sets.

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                      Here’s the correct technique by Denice Moberg:

                      2. Indoor Rowing

                      If upright exercises like walking on the treadmill or running outdoors bore you, you can strengthen your core using a rowing machine. Not only will you chisel your back, but the elongation of the upper back during the stroke motion creates a good stretch.

                      First, select a tension that is challenging but not a struggle. Make sure that your feet are securely placed in the machine’s foot straps, nice and tight to prevent the feet from moving while rowing.

                      Next, slide yourself in the rowing saddle forward toward the row bar and pull the bar toward the mid-section of your trunk area, which is the finish. Pulling the bar, bring your elbows beyond your back while contracting your upper muscles and rear shoulders.

                      Your back should be straight with a slight angle of around 100 degrees. Do not hunch.

                      During the catch, your legs should be at a 90 degree angle while locking out your arms completely. As a stretching exercise, repeat this motion for five minutes.

                      Here’s how you can do it:

                      3. Side Plank Rotation

                      If you’re short on time, floor exercises such as planks strengthen your core and can be done at home or during your lunch break at work. They can be done in 30 to 60 second increments.

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                      There are a few plank variations:

                      The low-position forearm plank in which your body weight is supported by your elbows; the straight-arm plank, which is a high-position plank; side plank in which your body is turned to one side and supported by one straightened arm; the stability-ball plank which is more challenging for your trunk; and the plank that gives you a good stretch is the side plank rotation.

                      To begin the side plank rotation, begin in the high plank position. Slowly turn your body to one side while stacking one foot on top of the other. Extend the opposite arm toward the ceiling and as you lower your arm, reaching underneath your body and rotating your trunk.

                      Done properly, you will feel the stretch along your rhomboids and shoulders. Repeat the rotation – reaching and tucking – 10 times. Switch sides.

                      Here’s a Side Plank Rotation demonstrated by Train Aggressive:

                      4. Yoga Stretches

                      A good way to incorporate breathing with stretching and gain flexibility in your core is Kundalini yoga – an intense yoga practice – gets your blood flowing and works wonders for the spine and posture.

                      The “Cat-Cow” pose is a great upper back warm-up, and when combined with the “Breath Of Fire”[1] or “fast breathing,” energy is sent through the entire body which stimulates the flow of cell activity and increases lung capacity.

                      On all fours, arms straight and directly below your shoulders, and knees directly below your hips, hunch your back, inhaling as you tuck your head into your chest, then exhale while arching your back and raise your head toward to sky.

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                      The rapid inhaling and exhaling in this exercise is known as the “Breath Of Fire,” as mentioned above. Increase the pace of both the “Cat-Cow” and “Breath Of Fire” and repeat this movement for up to five minutes.

                      This is how to do a Cat-Cow pose for energy:

                      5. Side Bends

                      This is a simple stretch to elongate the space between your ribs and increase range of motion, which helps achieve flexibility in the abdominals, spine, and lateral core.

                      Seated or standing with your back straight, raise your arms above your head and firmly hold your wrist. Gently pull your trunk to one side and hold for 20 to 30 seconds. When finished, repeat on opposite side.

                      Note: If standing, keep your feet shoulder width apart, if seated keep your feet flat on the floor.

                      Let’s take a look at how to do a standing side bend:

                      6. Pole Stretch

                      By creating opposing force and pulling on a stationary object, you are stretching your lats. The upper sides of your back. Here, you are performing a static stretch which is a stretch held beyond its normal range.

                      Find a pole, mounted gym apparatus, or other floor-affixed object and, while standing, pull on the object with slightly bent knees and back flat at a 45-degree angle.

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                      Continue to pull while extending your arms, feeling the stretch in your lats and rhomboid muscles. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat if needed.

                      7. Shoulder Blade Stretch

                      The shoulder blades are connected to the rhomboid muscles in the upper back. Sudden, quick movements like pulling a heavy object or even tossing a near-weightless object overhead, like a tennis ball during a serve, can strain the unstretched muscles between your shoulder blades, causing spasms.

                      Here’s how to avoid muscle strain:

                      Standing tall with feet shoulder width apart, gently pull your elbow across your chest, just beneath your chin, and hold for 15 seconds. If you do not feel immediate relief, try lowering or raising the elbow and perform the stretch again. Different angles can make a big difference.

                      There you have it – Seven upper back stretches and exercises to reduce pain and improve endurance. But while upper back stretches are important, a diet rich in antioxidants is equally key.

                      Bonus Tip: Getting a Diet Rich in Antioxidants

                      Antioxidants, also known as “Super Foods,” prevent the build up of free radicals in your body and control oxidative stress. These free radicals are toxins that get in the way of endurance, flexibility, and cause inflammation, among other fitness obstacles.

                      How do you incorporate antioxidants into your diet? Here are some common foods and beverages rich in antioxidants:

                      A good combination of quick and easy targeted cardiovascular exercises, static stretches, range-of-motion stretches, and yoga poses can increase upper back endurance and boost your energy levels, making your activities – both sedentary and active – manageable and fun.

                      Once you begin to incorporate these methods of relief into your routine, you will begin to walk taller, run farther, and hike longer!

                      Featured photo credit: Geert Pieters via unsplash.com

                      Reference

                      [1]Yogapedia: Breath of Fire

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