As we begin our path into our forties and beyond, it would be no surprise if we find out blood pressure rising. An increase of blood pressure is pretty normal as we grow older, but that doesn’t have to lead to hypertension (which is a chronic disease condition where the blood pressure is persistently elevated above 140/90 mmHg).
- Damage to the arteries
- Heart issues
- Damage to brain
- Kidney issues
- Damage to the eyes
- Sexual dysfunction
among others. However, the rising blood pressure as we age can be countered by a number of steps. Here are four of them that I would like to discuss.
Reduce / manage stress.
Stress management becomes increasingly important as we age, but in these times, which is one of the reasons why I hope to help with that.
I have seen what stress can do to you. For my mother, it led to a stroke, for example, while some of my university-mates had suffered heart attacks in their 30s.
There are many ways to reduce stress. Mindful modalities, such as yoga and meditation has been proven to effectively reduce stress. Exercise in general also is great for stress reduction. Swimming especially helps with reducing stress, anxiety and may help with depression.
Include some form of meditation into your daily routine to help manage your blood pressure. You may try centring prayer (mantra meditation) or candle gazing as simple forms of meditation.
We saw above that exercise helps with stress reduction, which in turn helps with controlling your blood pressure. Of course, we all know exercise helps us to lose fat, so get moving!
- try to get about 150 minutes (two hours and 30 minutes) per week of moderate-intensity physical activity.
- break up your weekly exercise quota as you like. Just do about 30 minutes a day five days a week.
- incorporate flexibility and stretching (like yoga and pilates).
- also incorporate strength activities two days per week
As we forge into our forties and beyond, we should be preparing ourselves for the best chapter of our lives. This can only happen if we have a healthy body to house a healthy un-stressedmind.
For cardio, the above is an example of a home cardio workout you can do in leu of outdoor running / jogging.
While I am not licensed as a nutritionist, my goal is help you reduce your blood pressure, if that is an issue. From my understanding, the Sattvic diet – which is also the yogic food plan – goes a long towards hypertension management.
Food in a Sattvic diet are usually are ripe, raw or lightly cooked, and is freshly prepared. This type of food plan consists of nutrient-rich plant food and is low in processed and fried food. Among the food in this type of eating plan are: whole grains, fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds, dairy, legumes, honey and herbal teas.
From a yoga standpoint, stay away from food that is ‘Tamasic’ (food that makes you feel dull and heavy, such as deep fried food, oily food, salty food etc.). Also try to reduce sugar (which is ‘rajasic’).
Another option is the the DASH diet. DASH is stands for for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. It is a healthy-eating plan to help you with high blood pressure. Incorporating food rich in potassium, calcium and magnesium that help control blood pressure, the plan limits food that is high in sodium, saturated fat and added sugars.
Studies have shown that the DASH diet can lower blood pressure in as little as two weeks.
Lose some fat / weight.
A regular cardiovascular exercise program can help prevent hypertension and lead to substantial declines in systolic blood pressure.American Council on Exercise.
Obviously, exercise and a good healthy eating plan will help you lose fat / weight. And being overweight does lead to health issues, including heart disease. Here are ten ways exercise helps to reduce heart the risk of heart disease:
Stay tuned next week for some yoga poses and breath work to help you with any elevated heart issues you may have!
Counter hypertension with yoga.
Blog post on using the breath to help you lower blood pressure and an accessible yoga sequence for you to follow.
Be sure to check with your doctor first, and best to get any consistent elevated blood pressure seen to, and medicated, if need be.
P.S. The Mayo Clinic has listed down TEN ways to help you manage your blood pressure, check that out here.
If you wish to start an accessible yoga practice, check out the FREE Mindful Mornings Mini Course below. You get some exercise, some meditation, and some key tips to remove stress from your life!
Get your FREE Mindful Morning mini-course:
- An introductory video about integrating mindfulness into your morning routines;
- A quick meditation that can be easily included into your mornings, and that can lengthened or shortened depending on your time constraints;
- A quick yoga mat movement practice that can be lengthened or shortened depending on your schedule;
- A video on an array of mindfulness tools you may want to employ in your routine; AND
- BONUS CONTENT – four videos on all aspects of adding mindfulness to your mornings; AND
- BONUS CONTENT – four more videos on wall yoga stretches that help to relieve low back soreness!
The course includes: