Hi all! I'm new to the team and have not yet been diagnosed with high blood pressure. Unfortunately though, it runs in my family and with the way I was eating and not exercising regularly up until a few months ago, it wouldn't surprise me if I were to be diagnosed with high blood pressure today.
Being the type of person I am, I'd much rather find natural ways of lowering my blood pressure than medication. I haven't had health insurance in about 7 years but will be able to afford it within the next couple of months. As such, I'll likely be seeing a doctor around the beginning of the year. My goal is to not have to be placed on any medication for anything - diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol.
So one of the ways I've found to naturally lower blood pressure is yoga. There are several low-impact yoga poses that can help you to lower blood pressure. My favorite is affectionately called "legs up the wall pose." You lie on your back on the floor with your your bum pressed against the wall and your legs pointing upward as they rest against the wall. So you effectively make a capital letter L with your body. It's great because the pose puts you in a more relaxed state and your legs are raised above the level of your heart to improve circulation, which in turn evens out your heart rate and blood pressure. There are also other poses that have similar benefits.
Yoga is also beneficial because it stretches out your body and everything in it, including your veins and arteries. On last Friday's episode of Dr. Oz last week, he mentioned 3 4-letter words that can save your life. The first one was an f-word. No, not profanity but the word "flex." He said that you can perform a simple test at home to evaluate your cardiovascular health. Simply sit on the floor with your legs together and stretched out in front of you. Then try to touch your toes without bending your knees. If you can reach your toes, it's an indication that your veins and arteries are flexible, which is good for cardiovascular health. Flexible veins and arteries can expand and contract more easily to accommodate the flow of your blood. Veins and arteries that aren't as flexible are more likely to suffer when there are blood clots etc.
Yoga can help you to become more flexible, in turn helping your veins and arteries to become more flexible and to improve your circulation. Dr. Oz recommended stretching a little bit each day to help your muscles, joints, veins and arteries to become more flexible.
I thought I'd share this with everyone as I've seen a lot of discussions about medications for high blood pressure. I know meds aren't completely avoidable and some folks need a little more help managing their blood pressure. However, I think that yoga and basic stretching can go a long way toward helping your body to regulate things better on its own. I try to stretch every day now, even on days where I'm not working out, because I know it helps in so many different ways. It doesn't have to be anything big, and you don't have to perform every stretch or pose perfectly on your first few attempts. Overtime, the more you do it, the more flexible you'll become and the better your circulation will be. Hope that can help some of you!
Also, for those who receive AARP's magazine, there's an article about yoga to lower blood pressure in this month's issue. My Dad receives this magazine and I check it out occasionally and that article really caught my eye!
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