Overview: High blood pressure or hypertension is a medical condition when the difference between the maximum (systolic) and minimum (diastolic) pressures exerted by the circulating blood on your blood vessels increases the desirable value (above 90-119 systolic and 60-79 diastolic).
Prime risk factors: Some of the major factors that increase your risk of developing the condition are:
Age: Increased levels of blood pressure are closely associated with age and the effects of an unhealthy lifestyle gradually build up.
Ethnicity: Generally, it is observed that people belonging to the African-Caribbean and South-Asian communities have increased probability of developing hypertension.
Family history: Having a family history of high blood pressure places you at a greater risk of developing the condition.
Lifestyle issues: It is a well-known fact that your lifestyle can affect your risk of developing it. Major lifestyle flaws include high intake of alcohol, excessive smoking, too much salt and not eating sufficient fruits and vegetables.
Tips to prevent and control: One of the primary steps to ensure that you do not develop the condition is by adopting a healthy lifestyle. By healthy lifestyle, we refer to the complete cycle of following a healthy eating plan, and moderate indulgences. Broadly, the prevention and control tips can be segregated into:
- Maintaining a healthy weight - Practice moderation if you drink alcohol - Quitting smoking - Regulating the excessive intake of salt and sodium - Frequent regulation of your health by visiting health care professionals at periodic intervals.
Exercise tips for managing blood pressure: Becoming active and incorporating regular physical activity in your day-to-day living helps make your heart stronger. This, in turn, can lead your heart to pump more blood with less effort, thereby lowering the force on your arteries and the subsequent reduction of blood pressures.
Aerobic training: This form of training can have a major influence on your blood pressure levels. This can include anything from walking, running and hiking to biking and even swimming. On an average, target at least 30 minutes of aerobic activity for most days of the week. In case, you are unable to manage this time set, you can also opt for shorter bursts of activity as they count too.
Weight training: Although these exercises can lead to sudden spikes in your blood pressure levels, they can have long term benefits. Make sure that you consult a physician before embarking on any weight training programs.
Yoga and meditation: In order to prevent this condition, yoga postures and meditation techniques should also be incorporated in your daily routine. The prime effect of these fitness programs is that they help combat stress and saturate the mind with tranquility.
Deep-breathing exercises: According to a recent research published in the American Journal of Hypertension, a person can regulate his blood pressure level by ‘harnessing’ the body’s own natural pressure regulator. Breathing techniques are easy and effective ways to curb elevated levels of blood pressure. Regular and right breathing techniques can help you maintain normal blood pressure.
However, for long term effects, always remember that you will have to follow these exercise and lifestyle tips on a regular basis. The benefits last as long as you continue with the planned fitness regime.