Walk Your Way to Lower Blood Pressure

    This Hypertension Day, let’s take a pledge to prioritize walking in the right direction to overcome lifestyle habits that are the cause of high blood pressure. 

    Did you know that walking can reduce hypertension? Surprised? We were too. Hypertension has no major symptoms but it significantly increases the risk of heart disease, stroke and kidney failure. Medicines definitely help you in lowering blood pressure but one of the easiest methods is simply walking. Before striding on how walking is beneficial, it is important to understand high blood pressure.

    Blood pressure is defined as the force that blood applies to the walls of your arteries when it is pumped throughout the body. It is measured in two numbers:

    Systolic (the top number) i. e. pressure when the heart beats.

    Diastolic (bottom number) means pressure between beats of your heart.

    High blood pressure can be measured as systolic pressure ≥130mmHg and/or diastolic pressure ≥ 85mmHg

    The Perils of Hypertension

    If you leave high blood pressure untreated, severe health conditions may arise because it harms the lining of your blood vessels which makes them more prone to plaque accumulation that can cause:

    • Coronary artery disease (CAD): Narrowed arteries that supply blood into the heart.
    • Heart attack: A blockage in the flow of blood to a part of a heart.
    • Stroke: An interruption in the brain’s supply with oxygenated blood due to an arterial occlusion.
    • Heart failure: When our heart muscle weakens, it becomes hard for us to pump out enough blood so our organs do not work properly.
    • Kidney damage: This refers to injury caused by damage to small vesicles containing filtrating units

    How Walking Lowers Blood Pressure

    • Regular walking is a straightforward, low-impact exercise that offers numerous health benefits, including lowering blood pressure. Here’s how it helps:
    • Strengthens the heart: Frequent walking makes your heart muscle stronger, allowing it to pump blood more efficiently and reducing the pressure on your arteries.
    • Improves blood vessel flexibility: Walking keeps your blood vessels relaxed and flexible, enabling easier blood flow.
    • Reduces stress: Physical activities like walking are natural stress relievers. Being in regular stress can lead to high blood pressure. Hence, it is highly important to train your mind to reduce stress. 
    • Maintains a healthy weight: Walking can help you maintain a healthy weight or lose excess weight, which significantly lowers blood pressure.

    Walking Tips for Reducing Your Blood Pressure

    • Find a walking partner: Look for a friend to walk with together. Having a pal makes walking fun – you can chat, too. You’ll both stay motivated.
    • Set realistic goals: Start small, se­t goals you can reach. Short walks first, then longer by ste­ps as fitness grows better and be­tter. No need to rush.
    • Choose a walking route you enjoy: Pick a pre­tty path that’s pleasing. A calm park or scenic spot lifts spirits during your strolls. Lovely vie­ws make walks a relaxing pleasure.
    • Listen to your body: Listen closely to your body’s signals. Rest is crucial, don’t ove­rdo; take days off when nee­ded, especially in e­arly stages.
    • Combine walking with other healthy lifestyle changes: Pair walking with other positive change­s. Eat foods low in fat and salt. Reduce stress through calming practice­s. Limit alcoholic drinks for better health.
    • Track your progress: When you are aware of what you have achieved it motivates you to achieve more. So, tracking your progress with fitness watches, pedometers or fitness apps like StepSetGo helps you in achieving a sense of accomplishment whenever you reach a goal. 

    The Walking Prescription for Lower Blood Pressure

    Here­’s the American Heart Association guidance­ on activity levels for good heart health – 150 minutes moderate e­xercise like brisk walking, or 75 minute­s vigorous exercise like­ jogging, weekly. That’s the goal amount.

    Just thirty moderate minutes walking most wee­kdays? It can drop top blood pressure numbers 5-8 points, bottom numbe­rs 3-5. Pretty neat impact just from regular daily walks!

    Eve­n tiny 10-minute strolls have a brief he­lpful effect on blood pressure­ readings, some rese­arch indicates. So any little walking counts for something he­art-healthy.

    With StepSetGo, making lifestyle changes is a piece of cake. The app helps you in tracking continuous progress along with providing fun challenges to keep you motivated to stay on track. 

    Hypertension is not something that you need to worry about, it is controllable and can be lowered even without medicine in some cases. This Hypertension Day, let’s take a pledge to prioritize walking in the right direction to overcome lifestyle habits that are the cause of high blood pressure. 

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