Your blood pressure is an essential indicator of your overall health at any age. High blood pressure—or hypertension—can be an indicator of heart disease, so it is important to monitor regularly. If your blood pressure creeps up over time, you have an early indicator that it’s time to adjust your diet and exercise routines to maintain cardiovascular health.
Here at Brandermill Woods, we are particularly attuned to the needs of older adults, for whom heart disease is a significant risk. In fact, the American Heart Association calls high blood pressure “the silent killer.” Since February is American Heart Month, we are pleased to offer some recommendations for controlling your blood pressure—ideally without medication.
Whether you want to learn how to decrease your blood pressure naturally or maintain heart health in general, here are 5 tips to take care of your heart as you age:
1. Check your blood pressure regularly and keep track of the numbers.
Regularly checking and recording your numbers will give you the insight to better manage how to decrease it naturally. When you take a blood pressure reading, you have two numbers: “systolic blood pressure” is a measure of the pressure against your arteries while your heart is beating, and “diastolic blood pressure” is a measure of the pressure while your heart is between beats. Hypertension traditionally has been defined as 140/90 or above, but blood pressure of 130/80 is an early indicator that something may need to change.
2. Eat a healthy diet that is low in salt, fat and cholesterol.
Eating the right kind of diet is a great way to naturally decrease your blood pressure. Healthy, balanced meals with low amounts of salt, fat and cholesterol can help lower blood pressure levels and improve your overall health in the long run. Making simple changes like swapping out highly processed foods for healthier alternatives, cutting down on sugar intake, and eating more fiber-rich foods like fruits and vegetables can also be beneficial when it comes to decreasing blood pressure without medication. Brandermill Woods residents have plenty of opportunities for heart-healthy eating in our lovely dining venues. Take a look at a few of our sample menus for a taste of what awaits you here!
3. Exercise regularly to maintain a healthy weight and lower your blood pressure.
One of the simplest and most effective ways to keep blood pressure under control is exercising regularly. Not only can regular physical activity help you lose weight, but it can also reduce the strain on your heart. Consider including different types of exercises into your life—including moderate cardio, strength and balance training. Older adults may benefit from low-impact activities such as water aerobics to take care of their joints, exercise classes for the social benefit, or personal training for ongoing encouragement.
4. Give up tobacco products.
Smoking or using tobacco products is one of the worst things you can do for your blood pressure and your overall health. Not only does tobacco cause serious and even life-threatening health problems, but it can also significantly worsen hypertension. Taking steps to break free from nicotine dependency not only helps improve your physical health, but also gives you a greater sense of mental clarity and personal control. To take this step, consider these tips from the CDC on how to quit smoking to better your heart health!
5. Reduce stress by taking breaks during the day, meditating or practicing yoga.
There’s a reason people joke about stressful events raising their blood pressure. High-pressure work situations, chronic worries and even traffic jams elevate your blood pressure temporarily, but constant stress can create constant hypertension. Making lifestyle changes, therefore, can not only reduce stress but reduce your blood pressure—improving your cardiac health. Taking regular breaks from work to clear the mind, meditating or practicing yoga are all great ways to reset your body and find some inner peace. These activities encourage mindful awareness of the breath and remind us all of the importance of finding moments of stillness in our lives. Even short breaks throughout the day can help you stay on track for a healthier tomorrow.
Let Brandermill Woods Support Your Heart Health. Maintaining a healthy heart is a lifelong project, but it’s especially important so you can enjoy retirement to your fullest extent. That’s why Brandermill Woods offers robust wellness programming to support our residents in body, mind and spirit. From heart-healthy meals, to daily fitness classes, to on-campus medical screenings, we have everything you need to enjoy a stress-free retirement.. To learn more about our community or visit for a tour, contact us today!