May is Hypertension Awareness Month and High Blood Pressure Education Month, making it a great time to put the topic in the spotlight. After all, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), hypertension (elevated blood pressure) puts people at risk for stroke and heart disease, the leading causes of death in the country. The more we can do to help keep it in check and at a healthy level, the better off we will be.
"High blood pressure is referred to as the silent killer because there are often no symptoms until someone has a heart attack or stroke," explains Jennifer Scherer, medical exercise specialist, certified personal trainer, and owner of Fredericksburg Fitness Studio. “Knowing your numbers and taking measures to keep them happy is paramount."
Hypertension, defined as blood pressure at or above 130/80, costs the country around $131 billion annually. The CDC reports that half of the adults in the country have hypertension, but only around a quarter of them have it under control. The good news is that there are some things people can do to help reduce their blood pressure and ultimately help improve their overall health.
Here are 5 lifestyle changes to help improve blood pressure:
Learn to relax. According to Harvard Health, calming the mind through meditation can help lower blood pressure. Daily meditation, even 10-15 minutes, can help relax the mind and lower blood pressure.
Spend time in nature. Increasing the time spent out in nature can go a long way toward lowering blood pressure. Research published in the journal BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies reports the results from a study conducted to see the impact that forest bathing, or spending time in nature, has on one’s blood pressure. They conclude that forest bathing has a significant effect on helping to reduce blood pressure.
Get active. Being physically active plays a vital role in helping to keep blood pressure at a healthy level. According to the American Heart Association, physical activity helps control blood pressure, reduce stress levels, strengthen the heart, and manage weight. Find something you enjoy doing, work with a personal trainer, or find what works for you, but get moving.
Improve food choices. Diet can help play a role in reducing blood pressure. The CDC recommends getting nutrition counseling and opting for a diet rich in potassium, fiber, and protein and lower in salt and saturated fat.
Add probiotics. John Hopkins Medicine reports that probiotics are linked to having healthier blood pressure. To do this, add foods to your diet that contain probiotics or opt for a good quality supplement to take daily.
“With some focus being put on the issue, you can greatly improve your blood pressure," added Scherer. "We have helped others improve their blood pressure and can help you with your fitness and nutrition goals."
The team of professionals at Fredericksburg Fitness Studio, where they offer private personal training, have degrees and certifications. They are trained to help people improve health and wellness, including medical exercise, personal training, in-home medical training, virtual personal training, nutrition coaching, and a Pilates reformer program. The Pilates Reformer program features a versatile machine designed to provide resistance. It can be used when standing, sitting, or lying down. All workouts on it are custom-tailored for the individual to address their physical fitness concerns.
Fredericksburg Fitness Studio doesn't offer memberships as other gyms do. They offer private customized fitness programs that are available by appointment. Many people who go to the studio are referrals from physical therapists and doctors. The wellness professionals at the studio communicate with the medical teams to keep them up to date on patient progress. To learn more about Fredericksburg Fitness Studio, visit the site: https://www.fburgfitness.com.
Harvard Health. Meditation and relaxation techniques to lower blood pressure. https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/meditation-and-a-relaxation-technique-to-lower-blood-pressure
BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies. Blood pressure-lowering effect of Shinrin-yoku (forest bathing). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5559777/
American Heart Association. Getting Active to Control High Blood Pressure. https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/high-blood-pressure/changes-you-can-make-to-manage-high-blood-pressure/getting-active-to-control-high-blood-pressure
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Prevent and Manage High Blood Pressure. https://www.cdc.gov/bloodpressure/prevent_manage.htm
John Hopkins Medicine. Natural Ways to Lower Blood Pressure. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/high-blood-pressure-hypertension/natural-ways-to-lower-blood-pressure