1. Eat Right. Eat Light.
DASH Diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) research has shown that an overall healthy diet can help maintain healthy blood pressure levels. Choose plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, which are rich in potassium and other important minerals, and limit salt use and consumption of high sodium foods. Cut back by 250 to 500 calories per day to promote gradual weight loss, if you need to lose weight. Being overweight can raise blood pressure, and losing weight may help lower it. Weigh yourself regularly -- about once per week -- to monitor your progress. More information and resources can be found at F&M's health care provider website https://www.highmarkblueshield.com and here on the Wellness Committee web site at http://www.fandm.edu/wellness/wellness-tips-info.
2. Move often. Move more.
Being physically inactive is related to high blood pressure, and physical activity can help to lower it. Move often by making physical activity part of your everyday routine, and move more by striving for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise almost daily or about 150 minutes weekly. Use the nearby facilities and resources at the Alumni Sports and Fitness Center before or after work, or at lunch. Or, take some time to walk at lunch and enjoy the upcoming autumn weather in the weeks ahead. Suggested campus walking loops are located at http://www.fandm.edu/wellness/walking-maps here on the Wellness Committee web site, or use the indoor track at the ASFC.
3. Quit now. Quit for good.
Smoking and other tobacco use injures blood vessels and speeds up the process of hardening of the arteries. Smoking is also a major risk for heart disease and stroke, and quitting lowers risk for both. Find a resource that works for you as an individual. Highmark Blue Shield members can log onto the member web site at https://www.highmarkblueshield.com to enroll in HealthMedia BREATHE under the "Your Health" tab, or call Smokeless at 1-800-345-2476 to enroll in one of the telephonic Smokeless programs.
4. Stress less. Relax more.
Try to seek balance in life, and ways to stress less. Stress, depression and hostility are directly related with increased blood pressure. Make a mandatory appointment with yourself to relax more (at least 10 to 20 minutes daily) and you'll discover that you have more physical, emotional and mental energy throughout the day.
5. Manage your treatment plan. Manage your medications.
If you develop high blood pressure, work with your health care provider to manage your treatment plan, including the lifestyle changes mentioned above.
Cindi Dinger, on behalf of the Wellness Committee