An estimated 30% of people who know they have high blood pressure aren’t doing anything to treat it. That’s a bit like playing Russian roulette! They’re at very high risk for death or disability through heart attack, heart failure, or stroke.
If you or your family member has blood pressure over 120/80, it’s time to get going. Literally. Research shows that changes in lifestyle, especially increased physical activity, are often enough to bring blood pressure under control.
The “lifestyle prescription” for blood pressure management includes
- healthier eating. Fewer sweets and less red meat and packaged foods (high salt content). Instead, eat more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat proteins.
- greater activity. Aim for a weekly minimum of two and a half hours of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise every week. That might be 30 minutes of brisk walking, swimming, or dancing five days of the week. The point is to get the heart rate up and maybe even break a sweat.