As we head toward a new year, our thoughts often turn to making a fresh start. For many, that means setting a goal to live a healthier life. One condition many seniors struggle with is maintaining a healthy blood pressure. If your blood pressure has been creeping up, the new year is a great time to take steps to better manage it.
While medication is sometimes necessary, diet and exercise also play key roles. Here are six ways you might be able to lower your blood pressure without resorting to medication.
Lowering Your Blood Pressure Without Medication
- Lose weight: Most of us know how important it is to maintain a healthy weight. It helps with many aging issues ranging from joint health to diabetes prevention. Make 2019 the year you adopt a healthy diet and lose those extra pounds. The DASH diet earns high marks from cardiologists for its heart-health benefits.
- Exercise: This is another one that most of us know, but many of us avoid. Make a resolution to find forms of exercise that you enjoy and to enlist the support of a workout buddy. Both will increase the likelihood that you will stick with your fitness goals. Swimming, chair yoga, Pilates, and walking are forms of exercise that are good for the body, mind, and spirit.
- Bust stress: Retirement doesn’t mean your life is stress-free. A loved one’s illness, worries about grandchildren, and economic uncertainty are just a few stressors older adults often encounter. Left unchecked, stress can cause blood pressure to increase. Journaling, meditation, and exercise can all help you beat stress.
- Avoid smoke: Smoking or being around secondhand smoke is linked to heart disease and stroke. While researchers are still exploring the connections between smoke and high blood pressure, they do believe there is a link. At minimum, smoking causes a short-term rise in blood pressure.
- Limit alcohol: Drinking alcohol is another risk factor for high blood pressure. Our best advice is to talk with your doctor to determine what your limit should be.
- Keep moving: Sitting a lot also puts you at risk for high blood pressure, even if you exercise. In fact, experts say it’s as dangerous for your health as smoking!
The Five Star Experience
Residents at Five Star communities have access to healthy, well-balanced meals designed with the nutritional needs of seniors in mind. Each resident also benefits from Lifestyle360, our wellness program. These life-enrichment activities focus on engaging the body, mind, and spirit.
Programs like these make it easier for seniors to manage health conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes. Schedule a personal tour to learn how we help older adults live their best life every day!