Blood pressure isn't just a set of numbers you encounter at your regular physical—high blood pressure is a serious condition that can shorten your life. It happens when blood vessels narrow or become less flexible, causing blood to travel through them with greater force. That can cause damage, raising your risk of heart disease, stroke, and dementia. So it's important to know your numbers, and do what you can to keep them in a healthy range. Always follow your doctor's advice, but these are some ways you can regulate your blood pressure almost instantly. Read on to find out more—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss Already Had COVID? These Symptoms May "Never Go Away".
Regular exercise is a great way to reduce blood pressure, strengthen your heart and improve overall health. But one move in particular can lower your blood pressure almost instantly—squeezing something, like a set of isometric hand grips, a tennis ball, or a stress ball. Researchers say this motion can lower your blood pressure by 10 percent by encouraging your arteries to relax.
Skip That Cigarette
Experts say that smoking a cigarette instantly raises your blood pressure by 5 to 10 mm/Hg. Nicotine seems to be responsible for the quick and temporary increase. But the toxins in cigarette smoke can damage arteries, making high blood pressure a long-term condition, and raising the risk of serious consequences like heart disease and stroke.
A study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that five minutes of breathing exercises can lower blood pressure. During high-resistance inspiratory muscle strength training (IMST), you inhale through a handheld device that provides resistance. Researchers found that doing the exercise six days a week for six weeks lowered blood pressure by nine points lower, on average—the same kind of results produced by blood pressure medication. Experts think deep breathing may encourage blood vessels to expand, reducing the force necessary to push blood through.
"Stress can increase inflammation in your body, which in turn is linked to factors that can harm your heart, such as high blood pressure," says Johns Hopkins Medicine. Uncontrolled stress can encourage unhealthy coping habits like overeating, drinking too much, or skipping exercise, all of which can raise your blood pressure. To lower your blood pressure and reduce health risks, find healthy ways to cope with stress, including exercise, relaxation exercises, and meditation.
Cancel Cocktail Hour
"While a little alcohol may relax arteries, too much seems to have the opposite effect," says Johns Hopkins Medicine. To reduce your risk of high blood pressure and other serious health conditions, drink only in moderation, meaning no more than one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men. And to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.