Dr Chris Steele shares diet tips on reducing blood pressure
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Having high blood pressure – or hypertension – can be dangerous. If not dealt with it can lead to serious health conditions such as heart attacks, strokes and kidney disease. This is because hypertension puts extra strain on the organs.
Causes of high blood pressure range from being overweight to eating too much salt, poor sleep habits and drinking too much caffeine or alcohol.
It can also be linked to a lack of regular exercise.
A fitness expert spoke with Express.co.uk about workouts you can do outside of a gym to help get your reading down.
Head coach at the Bermondsey Boxing Club, Steve Broughton, explained: “In addition to healthier food choices, regular exercise, especially aerobic exercise, has proven an excellent way to keep your blood pressure in check.
“By elevating your heart rate to the recommended 50 to 60 percent of its maximum for 30 to 40 minutes, you work your heart and arteries out by making them contract harder and faster for prolonged periods of time.”
Blood pressure is recorded with two numbers; the higher number – systolic pressure – refers to the force at which your heart pumps blood around your body.
The lower number – diastolic pressure – is the resistance to the blood flow in the blood vessels.
Generally speaking, high blood pressure is considered to be 140/90 millimetres of mercury (mmHg) or higher (or 150/90mmHg or higher if you’re over the age of 80).
Optimal blood pressure is usually considered to be between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg.
Mr Broughton recommended trying activities used by boxers as a way to lower your reading.
“Boxing is a sport that requires a broad spectrum of fitness qualities such as aerobic and anaerobic fitness, speed, power, flexibility and coordination,” he said.
“As such, it can be broken into its component parts and serve as an excellent tool for keeping your blood pressure in check.
“Boxing and its elements can be broken down and done pretty much anywhere.”
Skipping – Continuous 20 to 30 minutes if you’re good at skipping. If you’re a beginner you can practice 60 seconds on, 30 seconds off between 20 and 30 times.
Hitting a bag or shadow boxing – 10 times three minutes hitting the bag (if you don’t have access to a bag, 10 times three minutes of shadow boxing will give you a good aerobic workout.
Drills – 30 minutes of mobility and footwork drills, which can include ladder drills and reaction drills.
Bodyweight circuit – For example press-ups, sit-ups, squats and lunges can be put into a sequence, or a superset creating a 25 to 30-minute workout.
Running – Long slow duration, keeping heart rate at 50 to 65 percent of maximum. If you’re not a conditioned runner, you can again jog easily for two minutes and walk for one minute. Or even just a brisk or a hilly walk will do the trick.
However, he warned: “If you already suffer high blood pressure, check with a doctor first what level of training they deem appropriate.
“Rapid increases in intensity can be dangerous in people with severely high blood pressure so always consult a professional before beginning.”
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