With today's focus on sodium, you've now tried every dietary habit that has been shown to help blood pressure:
The more of these you manage to do, the more effect you're likely to see.
- DASH eating pattern:
- 4-5 servings each of fruit and vegetables a day.
- Mostly whole grains (assuming you eat grains).
- Nuts, seeds, and/or legumes most days.
- 2-3 servings of milk products a day.
- Sodium below about 2000mg.
Turning to non-food approaches, you may recall from the blog post I shared last week that exercise can help too. This chart shows how much, compared to other approaches:
What do they mean by "moderate intensity exercise"? Examples given in the guidelines are "walking, jogging, cycling, or swimming". The key is to find something that you enjoy!! Other ways to help get in the habit: Do it with a friend, track your efforts somehow, listen to or watch something interesting, and do it at the same time every day (preferably before the day gets away from you).
So tomorrow's challenge homework is to do 30-60 minutes of one of those activities, or something comparable that works for you. And if 30 minutes feels like too much, start where you are, and challenge yourself a little. Even a 10 minute walk is a great start.
The American College of Cardiology blood pressure guideline is a little different:
Since I'm not an exercise professional, we'll leave resistance exercise out of this, but no question it can be beneficial. Check with your doctor first if your blood pressure is elevated or have any other heart health concerns, and seek help from a qualified exercise professional if you need help getting started.
Your doctor may also be able to connect you with an exercise program, such as AHS's Alberta Healthy Living, if you're here, which offers a free 8-week supervised exercise program at various locations for people with chronic conditions like hypertension. It's like having a free personal trainer!
So what's your plan?