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10 Natural Ways To Lower Blood Pressure

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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

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                    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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                      Last Updated on September 8, 2021

                      10 Fitness Excuses You Need to Stop Making Now

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                      10 Fitness Excuses You Need to Stop Making Now

                      “You can have results or excuses. Not both.” – Anonymous

                      Human beings tend to only ever do as much as they absolutely need to.

                      Motivational speakers call this innate trait laziness, biologists call it efficiency. Either way, the fact remains: we are evolutionary wired to minimize time and energy wherever possible.

                      And this is not necessarily a bad thing. If we weren’t wired this way, we probably wouldn’t have survived this long as a species.

                      Back in our caveman days, before supermarkets, calories were worth their weight in gold. For cavemen, trying to actively burn off calories would have spelled certain death.

                      In this light, our fitness excuses make total sense. Our reptilian brain comes up with believable sounding rationalizations to stop us from burning off our precious calories; to minimize time and energy.

                      Unfortunately, due to our present access to highly calorific foods, the fitness excuses that once ensured our survival, now send us to an early grave.

                      Below I’ve provided the 10 most common fitness excuses our reptilian minds trick us into believing and why, ultimately, they’re all nonsense.

                      1. I don’t have enough time.

                      This is probably the most common fitness excuse of them all.

                      First off, when you say you don’t have enough time, what you’re really saying is “I don’t have enough time for that”. 

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                      Do you really think that if you were to add up all the time you spend watching TV and surfing the web throughout the average week you couldn’t replace any of it with a workout?

                      A 30 minute workout takes up 2% of your day.

                      Don’t ask yourself how much time you’re going to waste by working out a few times a week. Ask yourself how much of your life you’re going to waste being unfit and overweight.

                      2. I’m way too tired to workout.

                      Your mind, when it comes to exercising, is like a spoiled child. If you give in to its demands without a fight, it will see weakness and prey on it often.

                      If you miss one planned session, you’re much more likely to miss the next. The biggest journey always starts with one step and the biggest failings always start with one step backwards.

                      You need to show your mind who’s boss. You won’t always have lots of energy when you go to the gym but that doesn’t matter. The only thing that counts is showing up and giving it a shot.

                      If you’re too tired to workout, change your sleeping habits, not your workout habits.

                      3. But exercise is so boring!

                      You don’t want to exercise because it’s boring?

                      So you find brushing your teeth, taking showers, styling your hair and getting dressed highly entertaining? No. We do these things because we have to. We accept them as part of life.

                      The people who never miss a workout are the ones who view it just like brushing their teeth. Complaining about it is just pointless. To be successful sometimes you’ve got to do things that aren’t as fun as watching your favorite TV show. That’s just life.

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                      If don’t enjoy your workouts, you don’t stop working out, you just workout differently. Try crossfit, martial arts, hiking, body building, powerlifting, running, or swimming. Try music. Try anything, but keep showing up.

                      4. I have no motivation to workout.

                      If you think you need motivation to train you’re already half beat.

                      What you really need is meta motivation: the motivation to train even when you’re not motivated. If you rely on your feelings to decide whether to workout or not, you never will. As you know, your feelings are designed to keep you caged up in your comfort pit.  Your feelings want you to be safe, not successful.

                      That said, there is a trick you can use to get yourself motivated to workout, and it’s  backed up with research. It’s called ‘the few minutes’ principle.

                      The basic idea is that procrastinators often put off doing certain things because the size of the task in front of them seems too overwhelming. By deciding to just go to the gym for a ‘few minutes’ you’ll often see the workout through to completion.

                      Are you motivated enough to train for two minutes? That’s all you need.

                      5. I have kids to look after.

                      One day your kids might have someone to look after too: you.

                      Don’t burden them with an ill parent when they have their own kids to look after. And don’t be the kind of parent who tells their kids exercise is good for them but doesn’t follow their own advice. Kids are smarter than that.

                      If you’re really struggling with managing your fitness and your kids, combine the two. Find a field and play frisbee for a few hours, go swimming, take a walk around the lake and feed some ducks. There are so many fun and cheap ways to exercise with your kids, the only limits are your imagination.

                      You kids should be your biggest reason to exercise, not your biggest excuse.

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                      6. I don’t have anyone to train with.

                      What you’re really saying with this fitness excuse is that you don’t have anyone to talk with while you train. If you’re training properly, you won’t need to talk.

                      Don’t get me wrong, having a training partner is great but here’s what you’ve got to understand: most people first meet their training partners at the gym. The reason you probably don’t have anyone to train with is because you don’t have many friends who train. Like attracts like.

                      By becoming someone who regularly trains, you’ll start attracting people into your life who also value health and fitness. You have to earn your training partners, they don’t come free.

                      7. I don’t feel very well.

                      After you get into the habit of overriding your fitness excuses and working out regularly, the thought of missing a workout starts to drive you insane. When I broke my jaw in two places the doctors told me I couldn’t lift heavy weights for three months. What did I do? I lifted light weights instead. Train smart, not hard.

                      At some point in our lives we’ve all pretended to be ill so we could skip a day of school. Some of the better actors among us probably blurred the lines in their mind between real symptoms and those imagined. It’s easy to exaggerate things when it fits our agenda.

                      If you’re really sick, I don’t recommend you train. But feeling a bit tired or achy – that’s no reason to skip a workout.

                      8. The gym is too expensive or far.

                      If you think you need a gym to achieve your fitness goals, you’ve been seriously misled.

                      The world is your fitness playground. Ever watched a training scene from a Rocky movie? He chases chickens, runs up steps, punches meat, and chops wood. Many people cite these scenes as their favorite.  Something about training dirty and raw resonates deep within us.

                      There are whole fitness subcultures dedicated to working out outdoors, and without formal equipment. Ever heard of Calisthenics, Tai Chi, Yoga or Parkour? Look them up.

                      If you want to put on muscle, try some typical strongman training like chopping wood, flipping tires, lifting barrels. Remember, if it’s important enough to you, you’ll find a way. Arnold Schwarzenegger made his own gym equipment out of chairs and sticks for the first year he trained. He claims he gained 25 pounds of muscle from doing this.

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                      9. I don’t know how to train properly.

                      If you’re reading this article, you’re obviously more than capable of figuring this out. The internet is brimming with routines and training tips. This site alone will give you more than you need. Read these 10 tips for better workouts, perfect for beginners.

                      However, it’s important that you don’t get too engulfed in the theory of ‘training properly’. Like most things in life, you learn best on the job. Ask people in the gym to show you how to use proper technique, then practice through action.

                      People love giving out tips. You might even get a training partner out of it.

                      10. I feel intimidated by the fit people there.

                      This is normal and everyone has this when they first start out. The environment is new, everyone there looks like they know what they’re doing. You feel like you’re in someone else’s home.

                      The number one reason you feel intimidated when you go to the gym is because you don’t go enough! If you started going regularly you’d get used to the place, the people and your fitness would improve. Everyone knows training improves your confidence. Just stick with it. It’s something you’ll laugh at a few months down the line.

                      Anyone can get in great shape. Anyone can become fit. But very few people ever do because they give in to their natural inclination to minimize time and effort.

                      Stop making excuses and just stick with it for two months. After that you’ll be finding excuses to workout even when you do have important stuff to get on with.

                      Featured photo credit: United Artists, Chartoff-Winkler Productions via Rocky (1976)

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