Ensuring healthy blood pressure is a simple way for individuals and organisations to stay healthy and productive, so here are 3 key points everyone should think about along with instant actions you can get started with immediately.
1. Know your numbers Many people suspect they have high blood pressure but not everyone knows their current measurements. Others have no idea what their blood pressure figures are which is not good - heart disease is often referred to as the silent killer as it can go undetected until something serious happens.
Instant action: If it's more than three months since you had your blood pressure checked either make an appointment today to have it checked within the next two weeks, or order your own blood pressure monitor online so that you can check it regularly in the comfort of your own home. If you have concerns, seek advice.
2. Design a balanced fitness programme In the quest to reduce blood pressure or maintain healthy numbers exercise is crucial, but make sure your programme has balance and sustainability. Exercising periodically will help, but not as much as planning a routine of challenging exercise every 2-3 days. It's the regularity and consistency of your activity that has the biggest impact on your blood pressure. Similarly, thrashing yourself now and again with some kind of cardio activity such as running, football, rugby or squash might make you feel better but won't stabilise your blood pressure as effectively as a rounded and on-going routine of cardio exercise, strength training, mobility, stability and flexibility work.
Instant action: Take a 20-minute walk within the next hour and while you walk, plan your next 10-days of exercise which should include 3-4 workouts containing a mixture of the above elements. Ideally the first workout should take place today or tomorrow.
3. Clear your head A lot of stress - a major contributor to high blood pressure - is rooted in our perception of 'busyness' and feeling overwhelmed. Often the difference between feeling in control and feeling bounced around the day like a pinball isn't very dramatic - simply taking a moment here and there to review your progress and decide on priorities will make all the difference.
Instant action: Find a quiet spot and sit down, close your eyes and take 20 deep breaths. You might be tempted to move but hold onto the moment until you've completed the 20 breaths. When you've finished, plan a time to do the same tomorrow and every day moving forwards. Aim to increase the length of time you spend practicing deep breathing every few days. Not only will you feel calmer but you will be able to organise your day better with a renewed ability to focus on priorities.