This small habit can help reduce blood pressure and cholesterol

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In a proactive move to combat heart disease and stroke, the American Heart Association (AHA) has recently advised medical professionals to motivate healthy adults experiencing slightly elevated blood pressure or cholesterol levels to incorporate more physical activity into their daily routine.

This guidance comes with the innovative suggestion for doctors to issue exercise “prescriptions.”

These prescriptions are designed for individuals with mildly to moderately high blood pressure and cholesterol, recommending increased physical activity and linking patients to supportive resources like health coaches and community centers.

The necessity of this advice is underscored by some concerning statistics: around 21% of US adults, roughly 53 million people, have blood pressure that is slightly above the healthy range.

Additionally, about 28% of US adults, or approximately 71 million people, have mildly elevated cholesterol levels.

These individuals are at a low risk for heart disease or stroke, but with lifestyle adjustments alone, their conditions could be effectively managed.

Lifestyle modifications suggested include ramping up physical activity, weight management, dietary improvements, cessation of smoking, and moderation of alcohol consumption.

The new AHA guidelines also encourage doctors to discuss physical activity with patients during each visit, facilitating connections to resources aimed at increasing their activity levels.

The guidelines are grounded in evidence showing that even minimal boosts in physical activity can significantly benefit health.

Research supports that enhanced physical activity can reduce systolic and diastolic blood pressure by an average of 3-4 mmHg and can lower LDL cholesterol by 3-6 mg/dL.

The AHA emphasizes celebrating every step towards more active living, such as choosing stairs over elevators or increasing daily walk distances.

The federal guidelines recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise or 75 minutes of high-intensity exercise each week, coupled with strength training sessions twice a week.

The AHA’s recent statement is aimed squarely at improving heart health and minimizing the risks associated with heart disease and stroke, supported by data indicating that physically active individuals have a 21% lower risk of heart disease and a 36% reduced risk of cardiovascular death compared to those who are inactive.

Preventing High Blood Pressure: Tips for a Healthier Lifestyle

To prevent high blood pressure, a condition with significant health implications, adopting certain lifestyle habits and changes can be highly beneficial:

Maintain a Healthy Weight: Excess weight can elevate blood pressure risk. A balanced diet and regular exercise are key to weight loss and management.

Regular Exercise: Consistent physical activity not only lowers blood pressure but also bolsters heart health. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise weekly.

Healthy Eating: A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy can combat high blood pressure. Limiting sodium, saturated fats, trans fats, and added sugars is crucial.

Moderate Alcohol Consumption and Quit Smoking: Limiting alcohol intake and quitting smoking can significantly impact blood pressure and improve overall health.

Stress Management: Chronic stress can contribute to high blood pressure. Techniques like meditation, yoga, or exercise can help manage stress effectively.

Adequate Sleep: Poor sleep can affect blood pressure. Strive for at least seven hours of quality sleep nightly.

Regular Blood Pressure Monitoring: Keeping tabs on your blood pressure through regular screenings can help catch and address high blood pressure early.

These guidelines, rooted in extensive research and studies, offer actionable steps for anyone looking to improve their heart health and prevent the onset of high blood pressure.

Whether through diet, exercise, or lifestyle adjustments, these measures can lead to significant benefits for overall well-being.

If you care about high blood pressure, please read studies that drinking tea could help lower blood pressure, and early time-restricted eating could help improve blood pressure.

For more information about health, please see recent studies about added sugar in your diet linked to higher blood pressure, and results showing vitamin D could improve blood pressure in people with diabetes.

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