It’s become the norm to track so much of our daily lives – how many steps we take, what we eat, how many calories we’ve burnt while working out – yet, 20% of us don’t even know that we’re walking around with high blood pressure!
What range should your blood pressure be in?
Optimum blood pressure (BP) is a sign of a healthy body. Dr Max Brenske says “[we should all] learn why blood pressure is important. High blood pressure means there is an increased risk of having a stroke or a heart attack. It also means that small blood vessels are under severe strain, meaning the walls can become damaged. These damages can be life threatening”
How do you measure your blood pressure?
Most of us rely on waiting to visit the Doctor to have our BP monitored. Personally, I’ve had my own BP monitor for the last 6 years and I couldn’t imagine not owning one. It’s much less of a chore and it means I can track my health through monitoring myself.
“It’s so easy to measure your blood pressure with an easy to use device” says Dr Brenske. “Both arm and wrist blood pressure monitors are great ways to take small steps in measuring blood pressure. For accurate results, remember to take several readings”.
I’ve been using the Braun ActivScan 9 for the past few weeks and have absolutely loved it. As well as measuring your blood pressure, it also stores the results under a profile (you can have a maximum of two; I kinda think it should be 4 so the whole family can use it!). I love the colour coding of the results so you immediately know the range you’re in without having to do all the maths – so green for all good, amber for borderline and red to signify high blood pressure. I also downloaded the Braun Healthy Heart app on my phone which means I can take all my blood pressure readings to my Doctor for medical advice should I ever feel I need to. You can also log your sleep, exercise, nutrition, stress levels and medication in the app to see a overview along with your blood pressure data.
Improving your blood pressure through your mood
Gain Perspective – When encountering a frustrating situation ask yourself: will this matter six months from now? A lot of our daily setbacks do not matter for our long-term quality of life.
This was shared by Meik Wiking, CEO of the Research Institute of Happiness. It’s a personal favourite which I keep in my phone (a colleague once had it written on a post it note and I figured I would need to see it again, and again!). Other favourite of mine that Miek shared is:
Learn to say no – We often try and pack too much into our daily or weekly schedule. Be realistic when you are making your to do lists. This may require you to consider your priorities, make difficult choices and saying no.
Using exercise to improve your BP
Faya of Fitness on Toast shares her top tips for improving your health & fitness which then impacts your blood pressure. She says:
Train hard – Workout for 30 mins a day, four times a week; that’s the regularity you’ll need to help keep blood pressure at normal levels. If you have high blood pressure you should gradually and slowly increase training. I would advise training for shorter periods of time but more often. If you are struggling to find the time to train try body weight exercises to do at home like push-ups, pull-ups and lunges. You can do them anywhere.
Stay Hydrated – Drink plenty of water each day, keeping the body optimally hydrated and the vascular system in tune. Dehydration absolutely impacts the blood pressure, leaving behind more sodium in the blood, so drinking two litres a day, throughout the day, will keep your blood pressure better regulated.
Note: please be aware that this hydration tip is a generalisation and may need to be tailored to your individual needs.
Sleep and Your BP
We all know I’m a huge fan of sleep and the benefits it brings. I shared all my tips on how to get a good nights sleep in this post here.
I also have a few additional tips to help improve sleep from Nick Littlehales, Elite Sport Sleep Coach:
- Educate yourself on circadian rhythms so you’ll know when your body naturally has higher BP, releases hormones and is optimised for either activity or sleep.”
- Resting to recover in a polyphasic manner (resting at multiple times during the day, rather than just at night) encourages your body to be in harmony with the circadian rhythms of the day.
- Your body has a natural drop in temperature before sleep, so moving from warm to cool will help you get quality, uninterrupted sleep. Having a warm shower and then moving into a cooler bedroom environment will help this process.”
Do you know what your blood pressure is?