I’m worried my blood pressure is too high, how can I lower it?

Someone having their blood pressure checked by a doctor

Are you worried about your blood pressure? Maybe your doctor has told you that you have high blood pressure, or maybe you keep a track with a kit and you do your own blood pressure testing and it’s a little bit higher than you’d like it to be.

There are lots and lots of things you can do for this. Popular belief has had us believe that salt intake is linked with hypertension – which has been dismissed slightly now. It’s not a bad idea to have a look at the salt content in your food. Often, if you’re consuming a lot of salt, it’s because you’re eating refined and processed foods – and we know that’s not healthy for us.

The best drug-free brilliant remedy for high blood pressure is exercise, but the appropriate type and intensity of exercise. If you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, I strongly recommend you consult a doctor or a personal trainer or both before you start an exercise programme designed to lower your blood pressure.

Another thing to look at is monitoring your caffeine intake. If you drink a lot of caffeine it has a blood pressure elevating effect upon the body, so try and reduce your caffeine intake. We know from Professor Matthew Walker’s brilliant book, Why We Sleep, that caffeine has a quarter life of 12 hours. A cup of coffee at 9.00am (for the majority of us), there’s still going to be remnants of caffeine at midnight. Caffeine is not only going to elevate our blood pressure, but it also causes problems with sleep and a lack of sleep can also cause an increase in blood pressure.

Any form of stress upon the body increases our blood pressure. When it’s a good stress like exercise, that’s what we call eustress, and that’s good because the blood pressure will then correct itself when you recover. If it’s a distress, a bad form of stress, for example being very overweight, that is not a positive thing and that will also impact your blood pressure.

I would suggest exercise is your best course of action but, as I caution you, appropriate type and intensity. That is probably the remedy for so many different things. Sir Liam Donaldson, the former Chief Medical Officer, called it a wonder drug or a miracle cure. Exercise is the remedy for a great many things.

If you’re worried about blood pressure, firstly, get it checked and make sure you have actually got high blood pressure and you’re not just guessing. Consult a doctor, consult a personal trainer – get out there and exercise your way back to good health.

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Leanne Spencer is an entrepreneur, coach, TEDx Speaker, author of Remove the Guesswork, and founder of Bodyshot Performance Limited. Bodyshot is a health and fitness consultancy that helps busy professionals get more energy by removing the guesswork around their health, fitness and nutrition. Visit www.bodyshotperformance.com or email info@bodyshotperformance.com to register your interest in our services and connect with us on FacebookInstagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.